January 26, 2009

Can Narcissism Be Cured?

The wrong question.

A.

"Dear Alone: I read your descriptions of narcissism, and it sounds exactly like me.  I'm terrified I'm a narcissist. It's just like you wrote:  unlike other people, I can't seem to make meaningful connections with people, and when I try it indeed seems unreal, scripted.  Other people seem to have legitimate emotions, be happy, or in love, or angry, or guilty, and to me it always seems like I'm-- just a little bit--  faking it."

Narcissism says: my situation is different.  I am not like other people, who are merely  automatons, shuffling towards oblivion.

B.

 "Why are you so obsessed with narcissism?"

Describe the march of history over the past 100 years.  Answer: Fascism, then Marxism, then Narcissism.

What distinguishes the three?  Technology. 

What followed fascism?  War.  What followed Marxism?  War.


C.

"But I want to change, I want to get better."

Narcissism says: I, me.  Never you, them.

No one ever asks me, ever, "I think I'm a narcissist, and I'm worried I'm hurting my family."  No one ever asks me, "I think I'm too controlling, I'm trying to subtly manipulate my girlfriend not to notice other people's qualities."  No one ever, ever, ever asks me, "I am often consumed by irrational rage, I am unable to feel guilt, only shame, and when I am caught, found out, exposed, I try to break down those around me so they feel worse than I do, so they are too miserable to look down on me."

If that was what they asked, I would tell them them change is within grasp.  But.


D.

"So all is lost?"

Describe yourself: your traits, qualities, both good and bad. 

Do not use the word "am." 

Practice this.
 

I.

Instead of asking, "why do I feel disconnected?" ask the reverse question: "what would I feel if I wasn't disconnected?"  Be specific, say the answer out loud.

Go ahead, take some time, think about it.  What does connecting feel like?  I'll wait.

Let me guess: you have no idea.

All you have for an answer is images, fleeting thoughts.  Nothing concrete.  Some words, some phrases, bits and pieces of conversations you may have heard or that you daydreamed.

Now ask yourself, where did you get these images and phrases?

Imagine two people: real, or from TV or movies, that are in love.  Pick two people whose love you'd like to emulate.   Imagine them kissing, looking into each other's eyes.  Imagine them making love.

You wish you had a love like that, but you don't, and every time you try, to get it,  it is failure.  Here's the reason: are you imaging real people, or TV characters?

II.


The 1980s said: "TV is a bad influence, pushing our children down the wrong path."  Of course, it's Newton's First Law: a body moves in the direction of the force unless it is opposed by another force.

Where will they learn about love?   They could learn from TV, or they could learn it from the generation adults with the highest divorce rates in history.  They could learn about the difficulties of raising kids from an ABC/Disney Special, or from the generation with the lowest birth rates in history.  They could learn about morality from Sesame Street, or... but Dad always remembered to send in his pledge to PBS. 

Parents had no time for any of these lessons.  So instead, to feel like parents, they worried that too much sex on TV would turn everyone into sluts.  That didn't happen, I spent most of my twenties checking.  What did happen, however, is that a generation of males started overtly, without shame, craving sluts, and a generation of women would often pretend to be sluts.  Think about this: the act was that they were sluttier than they actually were, not more pure than they actually were.

Parents were right: TV could influence kids.  But not in the expected way.

But wait-- could TV be so powerful?  No, of course not. But how much force do you really need to push a child in a polyester snow suit across a frozen driveway?

People ask: "why do you focus on pop culture?"  Because that's all the culture 300 million Americans ever received for 30+ years.

III.

Imprinting was famously depicted by Konrad Lorenz who had a gaggle of geese following him, behaving like him, in love with him.  Less famously known: it took him only 48 hours to alter their identity. 

And without the use of TV.

IV.  

So now what?  TV taught you how to love, it showed you what love looks like, feels like.  But when you're actually in love, it doesn't look like that, so you secretly suspect you don't have the capacity for love, that there's something wrong with you.

Same goes for sadness.  And it's worse when you're in the presence of someone else's sadness, you have no idea what to do.  All you really know about experiencing these emotions is the script you got from TV.  "Oh your husband died!?  Oh my God, that's terrible! I'm so sorry for you!!"  But you don't feel any of that.  Nothing.

So you think to yourself, what the hell is wrong with me?  This woman's husband died-- sure, I can fake it, but am I such an empty monster that I feel nothing?

Of course you feel nothing.  Why would you?-- it's not your loss.  What's wrong isn't your lack of feeling,  but that you think you have to feel something, that you have to tell this woman, remind this woman, how horrible is her loss.  You think the only way to connect with people is to have their emotions.  You think she wants to connect with you.  You think she wants your help.

The problem isn't your lack of feeling, it is that you think that unless you feel it's not real.  You forget that she has a life that doesn't have you in it.

What you should say is, "I'm very sorry to hear that.  Is there anything I can do?" and that's it.  But that feels insufficient.   You think this because you think that there is something you can do, that the sadness is not real for you so it must not be real for her and you thus have the power to change it.

She's not looking for you to be sad, she's not looking to you for anything, her loss is bigger than you.  If she needs anything from you, it's sympathy, not empathy.

But no one taught you this.  So you fall back on the character "man helping grieving widow."  Action!

The problem isn't that you don't know how to connect; it's that when you do connect at all, you don't know what to do next.  It's your unrealistic expectations of what connecting is supposed to be.   TV is always about beginnings, not middles.  Like love.  The love you feel doesn't resemble the TV love because the TV love is the first three days of love, copied and pasted into a decade of episodes.  But since you have no other reference point, after a real decade, you think, "I guess must not be in love anymore."

You are so unsure of your own identity that you don't know if you are supposed to be feeling, what you are supposed to be feeling, when you are supposed to be feeling.  This is the same trouble actors have when rehearsing a character.  They want to get it just perfect-- would Tom feel this?  What's his motivation?  And similarly you ask: would I-- the person I am pretending to be--   feel this?

V.


Narcissism is imitating by being.  It is method acting all the time.


VI.

The problem wasn't TV, the problem was the absence of adults, real adults who took seriously their responsibility to the next generation, who lead not by words, but by behavior. Who, even if miserable or unfulfilled or unconnected had the decency to fake it for the next generation, for the people they touched.   Who didn't cheat on their wives not just because they loved them, not just because it was ethically wrong, but because what kind of an example would that be to their daughters?

I know, everyone will disagree.  Everyone, except daughters under 20.  

VII.

I killed a mosquito yesterday, because it bit me and it hurt and I am not the Dali Lama.

The narcissist, however, says, "It's just a bug."



VIII.  The Solution No One Will Like


"I feel like I am playing a part, that I'm in a role. It doesn't feel real."

Instead of trying to stop playing a role-- again, a move whose aim is your happiness-- try playing a different role whose aim is someone else's happiness.  Why not play the part of the happy husband of three kids?  Why not pretend to be devoted to your family to the exclusion of other things?  Why not play the part of the man who isn't tempted to sleep with the woman at the airport bar? 

"But that's dishonest, I'd be lying to myself."  Your kids will not know to ask: so?

The narcissist demands absolutism in all things-- relative to himself. 

IX.

"But I had really good parents!"

Sorry, Leonidas, you were simply outnumbered.

The best of parents can't beat the overwhelming influence of everyone else, of everyone else's parents, of TV, of journalism-- of a culture that says, "well of course!  The old ideas were wrong, we know so much more now!  We are touching up the last pages of history, from now on things are different..."

18 years of the best parenting still can't beat the morality lesson at the end of an 80s sitcom, presented as if it were a fundamental truth, known to all, incontrovertible.

So what about the next generation, those under 25?   If the problem was the unopposed influence of TV-- not the TV, per se, but the lack of opposing influence-- then the solution is some opposing influence.

I am nervous about recommending "the Classics" because it sounds contrived and pretentious, but anything that has withstood the test of time and is not something that was created to be consumed by current narcissist adults is as good a place to start as any.

Do the opposite of what the narcissists did.  They wanted to know enough to fake it.  They read just enough to use the book to build an identity, so they read about books, but not the actual books. 

If nothing else, reading will keep you out of trouble: every moment reading those books is a moment not doing something your current adults created for themselves that you're stuck with by default.

X.

"Why do you waste your time with pop culture?"  Because you may not be interested in pop culture, but pop culture is interested in you.
 






Comments

As Theodore Adorno reminded... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2009 5:28 PM | Posted by seemoreglass: | Reply

As Theodore Adorno reminded us, we can never truly ignore that which we are ignoring (pop culture) because even if we shun it, we are conscious during that shunning. I feel like TEENAGE narcissism is inherent to development, but I wonder if the "extended adolescence" that our young adults often find themselves experiencing is a direct influence of their generations constant exposure to television?

(For the record, I'm twenty three and a part of this generation, but I smashed my television a long time ago., and I try never to forget that I share the earth with different creatures, all of whose lives have nothing to do with mine)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 12 (16 votes cast)
This is beautiful. Each ti... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2009 5:41 PM | Posted by Matthew: | Reply

This is beautiful. Each time I read a write of yours that addresses a previous one (e.g. a writing to clarify some confusion or nonsense that came out of one of your earlier postings, an installment in a series, etc.), I feel like I should have connected the dots and realized something before the retrospect.

I long for the day that I beat one of your follow-up posts to a conclusion.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 8 (8 votes cast)
Huh? I don get it... :-/</... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2009 5:56 PM | Posted by joman: | Reply

Huh? I don get it... :-/

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (8 votes cast)
What's the point here? Any... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2009 9:19 PM | Posted by Brooks: | Reply

What's the point here? Anyone who feels detached or ungenuine is therefore a narcissist, and being a narcissist is incurable, because narcissists don't realize they are narcissists and therefore their narcissism traps them in narcissism because they don't ask you the "right" questions?

Maybe I'm missing them point and it's not quite that sophistry, or not quite that circular, but it sure seems like a classic pot/kettle thing: the problem with *those* defective people is that they're incapable of empathy and connection, because they're automatons living the narcissist script.

Good writing, though -- I'm just skeptical of the point (which I guess probably makes me a narcissist).

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (15 votes cast)
Brooks: I think that is the... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2009 9:52 PM | Posted by timberland: | Reply

Brooks: I think that is the point. they have a detached and ungenuine feeling and are therefore incapable of asking the right questions, which makes them detached... it is circular. The writing could be tighter but I completely get this post, even though it seems to have a sad and depressing conclusion: the narcissism is so much a part of our society that cure is impossible because we can't see ourselves from the outside enough to attempt a cure.. the most such a society can hope for is holding its breath and trying to limit the damage it inflicts on the younger generation. Like VII says, pretend to be something good, even if you're dishonest to yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 14 (14 votes cast)
What about folks on the aut... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2009 10:32 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

What about folks on the autism spectrum? The folks whose mirror neurons don't work properly, if at all?

I think a big problem today in the field of psychology is that there are thousands and thousands of adults on the autism spectrum who are being treated by all sorts of mental health providers and ending up with labels such as NPD, ODD, generalized anxiety, etc.... but the true problem for them (even if some of those dx are co-morbid), is the autism spectrum problems.

I'd like to see some psychs start to work on a clear differential diagnosis system for autism spectrum disorders and clinically significant narcissism.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (10 votes cast)
Imagine two people: real, o... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2009 11:17 PM | Posted by nick: | Reply

Imagine two people: real, or from TV or movies, that are in love.
(I picked my folks)
Pick two people whose love you'd like to emulate. (okay, sure) Imagine them kissing, looking into each other's eyes.

Imagine them making love. (oh no...)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 20 (22 votes cast)
Great article.George... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2009 11:47 PM | Posted by Lily: | Reply

Great article.
George W. S. Trow makes a similar argument in his book Within the Context of No Context. It was first published as an article in The New Yorker in 1980.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1980/11/17/1980_11_17_063_TNY_CARDS_000329878

http://www.amazon.com/Within-Context-George-W-S-Trow/dp/0871136740

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
The title should really be ... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 12:38 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The title should really be "Here's 10 more things you're doing wrong."
You've done enough preamble on narcissism and it's time to move it into the next act. The subject is interesting (of course?) but certainly you have more to say beyond making the same point each post but with more clever or obscure examples of said point, yes? This is going somewhere, yes?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (14 votes cast)
i think this one is worth a... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 2:46 AM | Posted by ww: | Reply

i think this one is worth a digg, so anyone else want to get in there... writing like this is hard stumble upon, so anything to make it easier for others to find. and in response to other comments, yes, you could say this post is repetitive, or you could say that we're watching this "narcissism thesis" in the process of becoming more fully formed and articulated. personally, i think thelastpsychiatrist is hammering away at it because it really _is_ more and more of a symptom of our society. certainly, teaching at the post secondary level, i frequently see it in my students. just my 2 cents.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 10 (10 votes cast)
I understand your point but... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 4:07 AM | Posted, in reply to ww's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I understand your point but, to be more clear, my point is he's been hacking away at the intro to this thesis for 26 months now (go look) and I'd like to see it finally advance somewhere.
His perspective is interesting and well-written (yet poorly proofread =D) so I'm interested to hear more but its really just been more of the same.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
If I truly knew what sadnes... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 10:42 AM | Posted by varangianguard: | Reply

If I truly knew what sadness was, I might have been sad after reading this.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 9 (9 votes cast)
I recently found this blog.... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 11:07 AM | Posted by Neil: | Reply

I recently found this blog. I enjoy your writing. Please continue with it.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
This was a monumental post.... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 11:30 AM | Posted by Dyson: | Reply

This was a monumental post. This post helped me understand your intent. It was like I had a moment of clarity. Thank you.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (5 votes cast)
By making narcissism an ove... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 1:16 PM | Posted by A Student: | Reply

By making narcissism an overriding explanation for pervasive cultural trends, you're making it completely worthless as a diagnostic tool. If it's everywhere around us, and in everything we see and consume, then what makes people with "clinical" narcissism deserving of a diagnosis?

I can't help but comment on a few things:

"Fascism, then Marxism, then Narcissism.

What distinguishes the three? Technology.

What followed fascism? War. What followed Marxism? War.

Narcissism isn't an ideology. One might argue that ideologies are inherently attractive to narcissists because they all describe the ingroup in terms of chosenness ("you have been called to change the world and the ignorant masses will thank you"), but no one has ever gone to war under the banner of Narcissism. How would an army of narcissists even look? Like that advertising slogan, "an army of one"? This isn't an argument, it's scaremongering.

Imprinting was famously depicted by Konrad Lorenz who had a gaggle of geese following him, behaving like him, in love with him. Less famously known: it took him only 48 hours to alter their identity.

There are a number of things wrong with this.

1. Lorenz never changed the geeses' "identity" with his imprinting experiment. He changed their perception of him. Rather than seeing him as "non-goose" they saw him as "mother goose".
2. Imprinting the geese did not make them behave more as a human being. They imitated Lorenz when he performed goose-relevant behaviors, such as getting in a pond and swimming.
3. To say that the geese were "in love" with Lorenz is a ridiculous anthropomorphization.

This may not be relevant to your main argument but it drives me crazy to see ethological research misinterpreted like this. It doesn't even help your point. You could have cut out this passage entirely and it wouldn't make any difference. If anything, it weakens your argument.

As for recommending the classics, take your statement about imagining real people or TV characters loving each other and then replace the TV characters with, say, Romeo and Juliet. Does that make it better? "The Sorrows of Young Werther" sparked a copycat suicide epidemic throughout 18th century Europe. And what about Don Quixote? Are old romantic comedies like Love's Labours Lost better than new ones, just because they didn't come from the "poisoned generation"? People today have no culture, no refinement, no sense of duty: what does that have to do with narcissism? What makes it a new problem? The ancient Greeks complained about these same things. Civilization - the ever-dying.

And if the previous generation was so rotten, and the one before them so pure and good, then why did that rotten generation rebel in the first place? Didn't they intend to reject the hypocricy of playing the role of the "good family father", "the dutiful housewife", "the obedient son"? Weren't these roles seen as prisons, shackles? Why would it be better to take them up again, as if freedom of choice doesn't exist, as if society is the same as in the 40's and 50's? Change is bad; therefore, let's turn back to whatever our grandparents did, that was good, right? A tired old formula.

Your post is interesting, but it has nothing to do with narcissism. Please label it correcly next time.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 25 (35 votes cast)
"No one ever asks me, ever,... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 2:02 PM | Posted by Miko Nukka: | Reply

"No one ever asks me, ever, "I think I'm a narcissist, and I'm worried I'm hurting my family.""

Yes nobody asks that sort of questions because people are stupid. People have usually no idea about the side effects of their actions. This is because people A) aren't psychologists B) People don't have that much of EQ/empathy.

So it's kinda stupid from you to expect something like that, unless you are stupid.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 7 (9 votes cast)
I agree with many of A stud... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 2:30 PM | Posted by Jennifer: | Reply

I agree with many of A students comments. S/he hit the nail on the head. As a former psychology major who was forced against my will to take classes from a behavioralistic perspective, I had to laugh at A Student's funny, yet insightful observations. Just what I was thinking while reading the article, "geese don't have an identity" Rather it's just behavioral tricks like Pavlov's dog, but in this case, it involves imprinting. Nothing revelant in terms of narcissism. It's anthropomorphizing.

Also, while I generally enjoy the last psychiatrist's articles for their sardonic humor and insight into the work of a psychiatrist and psychology, this was less satisfying. Rather than offer insight into the inner workings of narcissism, its causes, the psyche, motivation of a narcissist, it trivalizes the subject. My opinion. Although maybe the intent was more academic i.e. we live in a narcissistic society which produces little narcissist clones? As others posted, I'm not sure what the point is other than offering the last psychiatrist an opportunity for an intellectual exercise. I believe the argument for a narcissistic origin link to culture (media induced affliction) has been made before, specifically in the Culture of Narcissism. The statement by A Student that narcissism is not an ideology is correct (in the general meaning of the term). Rather narcissism maybe be described as a cultural phenomenom (or psychological disorder) to be treated as such. Although Hitler's banner of cultural elitism fueled by his own illusions of grandeur could arguably be called narcissistic in a loose sense.

The final thing I would like to say is that Narcissism IS NOT Narcissism IS NOT Narcissism. Bottom line: there are many ways that narcissism can be used as a metaphor for societal ills. However, it really doesn't add much to the discussion of narcissism as a psychological illness. So does it really have any diagnostic/therapeutical applicability? Also, narcissists are not all created equal. A teenager who is self-centered, insensitive to the feelings of others and feels invincible could be a product of our societal emphasis on youth culture and could be considered a narcissist. That's very different experience than being married twenty four years to a narcissist (although my therapist prefer the term, "self-absorbed" to spare me the revelation that I'm actually married to a narcissist or perhaps to encourage me to see things in shades of grey, rather than black & white, the way that people with borderline tendencies like myself do? I digress. Sorry...) The very last point (I promise) is that being involved with narcissists is difficult. Although, I know last psychiatrist has written some good stuff on narcissism, I think this piece trivalizes the genuine experience of narcissism (not something couched in a metaphor and misses the point in place. Thank you for the article. Much food for thought. I enjoy this blog immensely for that reason.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (9 votes cast)
Kinda judgmental Miko. Woul... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 2:51 PM | Posted, in reply to Miko Nukka's comment, by Jennifer: | Reply

Kinda judgmental Miko. Wouldn't you say? Narcissists are generally quite intelligent as intelligence goes. However, the lack self reflection and motivation that stems from their childhood experiences. To look in the mirror would be a scary and painful experience. Their entire sense of self would be shattered. That's why you won't see them in the therapist offices. However, many people are like that, not only narcissists. The difference is that most people can be convinced to go to therapy when they have experienced enough pain or trouble in their lives, narcissists, on the other hand, generally remain in denial, lack in empathy for others and refuse to take responsibility for their actions. (Narcissists also believe that all therapists and psychiatrist are beneath them and stupid. This provides a rationalization for them not to get help). That's not stupidity, it's a unhealthy survival mechanism.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 10 (10 votes cast)
Yes, I agree with the above... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 5:18 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Yes, I agree with the above, it firstly a defence mechanism.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Thanks for the post, i enjo... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 5:50 PM | Posted by uo: | Reply

Thanks for the post, i enjoyed it a lot!

It somehow reminded me of a old 4chan "how not to fail at life" guide:

http://mjt.nysv.org/scratch/how_to_not_fail.png

In a way both are saying "as you're going to pretend anyway, why not pretend being somewhat human" (guide's step 8, post's viii.)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (5 votes cast)
Just think about Bill Clint... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 5:53 PM | Posted by Mary: | Reply

Just think about Bill Clinton, and the post will make perfect sense to you.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
Ditto A Student on "the cla... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2009 10:13 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Ditto A Student on "the classics". Replace "TV" with "novels" and you've got any number of folks in the 18th century making the same complaints you're making here.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
a few things:I am... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 12:50 AM | Posted by Alone: | Reply

a few things:
I am aware that every generation has had their cultural criticisms. However, the issue here is not that TV is crap, and not even that it is influential, but that it is an unopposed force in personality development. Books influence you also. But if you followed ten TV shows in the 80s, then you had the same message reinforced every week ten times, using different stories/plots, etc. No one can read that many books.

But the main thing I want to address is the criticism that I have mislabeled narcissism. Grant me some leeway that I am at least aware of the "official" definition of narcissism, and that I have thought a lot about this. Narcissism IS an ideology, it is NOT a pathology. An ideology is "the body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture." What's important is that you aren't afflicted with narcissism, or born with it-- you choose it because it meets your "social needs."

There are individual narcissists with actual pathology and better men than I have described them (e.g. Kohut) but my concern here is with narcissism as a collective, societal, chosen worldview. "Self-actualization-- yeah, let's go with that!" I am not being flippant when I link them together, and associate them with war.

A Student's points about Lorenz support my point. Of course the geese didn't actually think he was a goose nor did they think they were humans. But they imitated him _anyway_ they went against their "nature" and chose to behave like -- something-- else And no, it isn't irreversible, but only if there is some impetus to change. That's the danger of narcissism, the conscious decision to become like someone else because it-- what?

Also, yes, the Lorenz geese were sexually/matingly attracted to him, though this is a minor point.

Thank you all for your comments and criticisms both, they make this endeavor better overall.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 8 (10 votes cast)
Something terrible happens ... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 12:57 AM | Posted by eh: | Reply

Something terrible happens to my friend's family. My friend feels terrible. I, for the most part, do not. I do care about my friend, and so offer my support and ask her what I can do.

But I still feel guilty (or perhaps just ashamed). On many occasions I have seen other people even two or three degrees away from tragedy react with much more (apparent) empathy and compassion than I am. They seem earnestly affected. Later that day, I endure a small disappointment. This disappointment affects me more than knowledge of my friend's tragedy. I feel guilty, or ashamed. I then reflect on how I am turning my friend's tragedy into a vehicle for self-obsessed psychologizing. I feel guilty, or ashamed.

I thought a return to the classical texts would help, too.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (6 votes cast)
A part of the problem is re... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 1:49 AM | Posted by Ryan Sprute: | Reply

A part of the problem is realizing you don't know the difference between guilt and shame, or between justified and irrational rage.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
The world is not as awful a... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 2:22 AM | Posted by theskepticalshrink: | Reply

The world is not as awful as you think it is.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (3 votes cast)
I just love this. Perfect, ... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 2:42 AM | Posted by mel g: | Reply

I just love this. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Thank you.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
finally!!! ... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 5:35 AM | Posted by Trei: | Reply

finally!!!


(and so we arrive at the root of all evil - 'mum and dad'. someone was right, just not the way we expected it)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Thank you for replying.... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 5:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Alone's comment, by A Student: | Reply

Thank you for replying.

My point about the geese was actually the opposite of yours. They didn't "go against their nature". Their perception of Lorenz was simply altered so that their natural behavior extended to him also. I wasn't aware that they were sexually imprinted on Lorenz as well, but then I never read the original study, just short summaries of his work in various textbooks and the like. In any case, if one extends this point to your main idea, I think where we disagree is exactly on how much you can make a human being "go against his/her nature" by altering imprinting patterns (which, at least according to Bowlby, TV is too late to do since most of the attachment happens from birth to age 3). I think that even the most powerful media influence can only work with the basic human condition, not alter it. That was my point about the geese.

my concern here is with narcissism as a collective, societal, chosen worldview. "Self-actualization-- yeah, let's go with that!"

I'm not a native born American so my perspective on this is different, I guess. But I don't really think people choose narcissism, even in a society like the US in which individualism is so strongly promoted. If narcissism was the ideal, then pathological narcissists wouldn't exist as clinical cases; they'd be lauded as heroes. And yet, "narcissist" is a pejorative. People get defensive when accused of it, and as you said in your main post, no one openly admits to being narcissist - but is that because they can't see what they are, or is it just because no one would voluntarily accept a strongly stigmatizing label? And if, as you say, people take on narcissistic traits by choice, why would they then be oblivious to the consequences of that choice? If it's chosen, then it's defended. What you call narcissism-by-choice is a different beast from pathological narcissism, right? The pathological ones can't help it, and their lives are a disaster area as a result. But the ones that choose it know what they are doing. But what do you achieve by calling the chosen variety "narcissism"? By doing that you associate it to the pathology, you imply it's a concern for psychiatry, that these people need treatment, and so on. It's like "healthy" grief and clinical depression.

I'd argue that people behave in selfish ways in this society because a system is in place that allows them to get away with it. With all this focus on individuality, it's easy to use "self-actualization" as an excuse to be self-centered. You're not free from this perspective yourself; your advice in the end, "if you're going to play a role, play the role of someone responsible" is also about self-actualization. The only difference is the direction of the actualization of the self. I'd argue that in order to promote connectedness to and responsibility for others, society needs to have more collective ideals in place. I'm not sure it's possible in the US, where such ideas are traditionally derided as "communist", but with Obama sworn in I'm at least cautiously optimistic. In any case, group cohesion will increase when the economy gets worse, since in a poor society there is less room for selfish behavior.

I still think that your focus on media leads you in the wrong direction. It's easy to interpret the main character of a movie to be narcissist; after all, being a narcissist is imagining yourself the main character of your own movie. But I'd argue that the need for films (and other narrative-driven media) isn't there because people all want to be narcissist, or seek confirmation for their narcissist behaviors - it's there precisely because living in a society (even US society) makes narcissist behaviors difficult, and mostly impossible. It's nice to imagine a world where it's "all about you" precisely because such a world cannot be found in reality. People who cannot separate fiction from reality are suffering from some psychiatric disorder or another; even when someone acts in ways that evoke a movie character, it's usually used as an easy way of describing the person than that person actually identifying with the character.

I'd like to apologize for my somewhat caustic tone in my first comment, and thank you for the interesting discussion; I hope it can continue.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (6 votes cast)
No one can read that man... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 8:10 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

No one can read that many books.

No, but the experience of reading is much more isolating than watching something on a screen, which can be done with friends or family-- and even if it's not, can usually be discussed socially afterward more easily than a book. I'm not just pointing out that "every generation had its cultural conflicts" (although that's a valid point), I'm saying it's bizarre to recommend something as a solution to a problem when that same thing has been fingered as a source of the problem. A non-stop diet of the Brontes is probably more dangerous than watching a lot of, say, The Food Network.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (3 votes cast)
Isn't it that.. It's not th... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 8:33 AM | Posted, in reply to A Student's comment, by Erika: | Reply

Isn't it that.. It's not that they (we..) choose narcissisim per se but that we choose the benefits of narcissisim i.e. pampering our ego's, our image. We choose to do this over and over and over again. Like you say the author isn't talking about narcissisim as a pathology, but rather how qualities of narcissisim are increasingly prevelant in modern society. Individualism, which is the foundation of our society, easily gives way to narcissisim because it encourages competition, which puts us in the vulnerable place of possible failure and requires ego building to make us feel better. People CHOOSE to have these fantasies about who they are (without getting around to being that person)so that they can feel that they are better than other people and won't fail put up against them. You say that if narcissisim was so prevelant wouldn't fully fledged pathological narcissists be held up as heroes rather than be labeled mentally ill, but why should it be so? Perhaps it is a trend that society as a whole is not aware of and/or proud of.

I definitely agree with what you were saying about possible cures- collective ideals, poor societies (less emphasis on consumerism!), to put focus on other people and working with other people, rather than ourselves. Though I disagree that the connection between narcissisim and the media isn't important. I think the author was making a very valid connection. In our modern day quest to finding ourselves, to becoming the 'best person we can be', popular culture has an enormous effect in that it sells so many of us a person to strive to be. It tells us how to be funny, popular, in love, successful and so on.. And whether or not a goose imprinting onto a human is the right analogy for it, it DOES brainwash people (to a more or lesser extent) because it is everywhere. People check themselves against this ideal image and consequently step out of themselves and start acting like that image= narcissisim.

Everything I just wrote is pretty much a question. Hope you can make some sense of it A Student and sorry to the author if I got it totally wrong.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
O wad some Power the giftie... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 8:58 AM | Posted by Rurald: | Reply

O wad some Power the giftie gie us / To see oursels as ithers see us!
(Oh would some power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us.)
- Robert Burns, poet (1759-1796)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Sorry for re-posting - the ... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 9:05 AM | Posted by Rurald: | Reply

Sorry for re-posting - the following part of the poem ("To A Louse") might also apply:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea'es us,
An ev'n devotion!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
I beg to differ with A Stud... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 3:43 PM | Posted, in reply to A Student's comment, by Jennifer: | Reply

I beg to differ with A Student. Obama is a narcissist. Hence, his cult following. Once the narcissist has been put on the pedestal (in this case by the the media and his followers) the rest falls into place. The dance begins. As a case in point, see all the Obama as Jesus Christ T-shirts and stickers. (BTW - I am a liberal, so this isn't some sort of Obama hatefest). My perspective derives from my direct experiences with narcissists and my understanding of the Enneagram, a personality theory. According to the enneagram, there is a certain personality type (Type Three), when unhealthy can become narcissistic. Type Three (The Achiever) are very competitive and driven - in fact they are so driven that they'll do any, say anything even if it involves lying ot manipulating. They tend to be shallow, superficial and like to draw attention to themselves (even healthy Threes). They are very persuasive and others look up to them as role models. They can be irresistable because they'll be whatever you want to be. If they are suppose to act serious, they'll act serious, if empathetic they act empthetic (even if they truly lack empathy). Hollow shell. Mirrors and projections. Obama, from my observations, is a Three and most likely an unhealthy (non-self-actualized) Three. Other examples of Threes (both healthy and unhealthy) are O.J. Simpson, Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, Tony Robbins) Threes are charismatic leaders because of their oratory skills and ability to "sell" the goods. Hopefully the rhetoric of "hope" and "change" which is repeated as a mantra or prayer by Obama followers is enough to turn things around. That is, he will be able to "change" people's psyches so they will feel good about investing in the stock market and spending money. A little brainswashing or motivational speaking has never done anyone too much harm. I've come to the conclusion that it's less about reality of the economis crisis and more about providing a spin that will shift people's perspectives.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
I'm a 31 y/old daughter, an... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 5:47 PM | Posted by Lexi: | Reply

I'm a 31 y/old daughter, and I still care.

I never knew about my dad cheating on my mom until 20 years after there divorce, I asked him if he had ever cheated on my mom. My dad has always preached the value of honesty and how important it is. My difficulty is if he valued honesty so much, why did he cheat on my mom? In this instance, I wish he had lied twice. Once to her, and again to me when I asked. Then I could keep a consistent model of my dad in my head. But that seems to be the only time (that I know of) that he has ever lied. At the time I asked, I was glad, and then I grew up and realized how his actions could have affected my mom, and how they affected me.

I have had two dreams where I cheated on my bf, in the dreams I felt awful that I did it but didn't actually consider him at all (until I woke up and then declared that if I ever did have a chance to make out with Robert Downey Jr, I would and since I told him, it is now no longer cheating if it happens . . . but I digress). In real life I like to think I would never do it for three reasons 1) It would hurt him a lot and he doesn't deserve that kind of pain 2) What's the point of cheating these days when divorce or breaking up is so easy and polyamory is making a come back among more "forward thinking" people? 3) That's not the kind of person I want to see myself as and I don't want others to see me like that either.

As for why it is important to call out that we are becoming a culture of narcissists-- so maybe we have a chance of stopping it and developing into more evolved people.

I think of it in terms of geocentric and heliocentric world views. Where those who hold the geocentric pov are representative of how things used to be, and heliocentric is what they became. Generally speaking, the shift came with just a few people leading the (scientific) cultural movement in terms of ways of thinking about the world, those people were Copernicus, Keplar and Galileo (more or less). The point is the shift started with individuals, and gained movement into the masses. The west's entire perspective shift from "The sun and planets revolve around us" to "we and the other planets revolve around the sun" . . . and while we might never go back to a geocentric world view scientifically, the shift in cultural beliefs moves similarly, personal development or devolution starts with individuals and spreads out into the culture which eventually shapes the way everyone else lives.

If 70% of the population are heavy drinkers and had a lot of alcoholic traits, and someone from the 30% called it as they saw it, would that make the label of alcholic any less relevant? Would that interfere with the ability to diagnose clinical alcohlics? (I think yes, but because 70% of the population engages in the behavior and so it seems more normal, not because the diagnosis loses meaning)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (7 votes cast)
A student: "If narcissism w... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 6:08 PM | Posted by Lexi: | Reply

A student: "If narcissism was the ideal, then pathological narcissists wouldn't exist as clinical cases; they'd be lauded as heroes."

Um, they are lauded as heros.

Have you heard of Ayn Rand or (the cult of) Objectivism? Very attractive to Narcisistis and many of her characters seem to have cluster B personality disorders. One, blow up a building because it wasn't built exactly to his vision. Nevermind the intention of the building was to help others and they wouldn't actually care, it was the principle (thank goodness that was fiction!)

Alone also wrote about a JAck Kerouc book where narcissists are perceived as the heros of the book.

Have you heard of Tim Ferris, author of the 4 hour work week? He is a hero in some circles, and very probably a narcissist. (don't actually know, but based on the tone of his book, while it has some great ideas, he seems NPD).

I do agree with you that our culture is to "individual centric" . . . some more blending with a sense of connectedness (rather than collectivist) would be helpful.

Have you read Susan Greuter Cook's stages of adult development?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (5 votes cast)
In my final year of high sc... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2009 6:20 PM | Posted by lostandfound: | Reply

In my final year of high school one of the students of our year commited suicide. He was born deaf and that caused a lot of stress on his life due to his inability to communicate clearly with other people. Our entire year was brought together and told about it. I was fascinated by the reactions of the class. His closest friends broke down crying but that was expected. A large group of boys that used to tease him endlessly hung their heads in shame. The group that fascinated me the most however was a group of girls that from what I could find out shared no classes with him, spent no time with him, and generally ignored him whenever possible. These girls were hugging each other and crying like someone had killed their parents, then they were trying to comfort the boys friends. I felt bad for the guy as obviously he thought his life was too hard to continue, however I was not a friend of his and my very few dealings with him I found him to be extremely rude and obnoxious. This was my first encounter with the death of someone i knew but i found a recurring pattern when 2 of my grandparents passed away in the next few years after. I found when everyone else was crying and offering everyone else support I felt nothing. In my head death was inevitable. I would help my parents with everything i could to keep life going on as normal but I felt no real emotion to the passing of these people who were so close. So who is the narcissist? Myself who understands that we cannot live forever and see's the big show of crying at the funeral and offering condolences as a total waste of time and energy, or those girls who played that part because thats what they thought was the done thing?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (8 votes cast)
It would be really useful t... (Below threshold)

January 29, 2009 4:41 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It would be really useful to have a comment rating system like Disqus so the highest rated comments went to the top and we could peruse the first 10 that actually have substance instead of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of useless ones.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
The answer to the pull of t... (Below threshold)

January 29, 2009 8:22 PM | Posted by Common Reader: | Reply

The answer to the pull of trash pop culture is to make your own good folk culture.

It's hard to do this and parent at the same time.

It's fun though.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
Oh, I should probably add i... (Below threshold)

January 29, 2009 8:25 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh, I should probably add in case you say "but making YOUR OWN anything is the problem here!" I don't mean make shit up, I mean transmit what you have, and if you have nothing (like if you are the child of immigrants who didn't pass anything on to you) get inside a stream of culture that is still running. Learn to play music, go to contra dances, learn nursery rhymes and say them, practice the shared American folk traditions like Christmas trees and trick-or-treating.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Another "thank you" for thi... (Below threshold)

January 30, 2009 11:15 AM | Posted by fraise: | Reply

Another "thank you" for this post -- the circular, "only I exist" reasoning by narcissists as opposed to people who can recognize their own faults (and individual qualities, as opposed to imagined/acted ones) finally hit home with this, and I've been reading off and on about narcissism for years.

I too think a return to reading good literature would be helpful, but I'm a bit biased since I have a degree in literature! Extraverts will say reading books is "isolating", without recognizing that one can learn to better distinguish others -- who are represented in books, and indeed in the authors themselves, who are different individuals -- from oneself, and all the benefits of that.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Fraise, I'm the person who ... (Below threshold)

January 30, 2009 5:05 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Fraise, I'm the person who left the comment noting that reading is "isolating". I'm not at all an extravert; I'm a fellow introverted lit-major, one who hasn't owned a television in eight years. But "others" are represented in television and movies, and those media have authors, too, so I don't see how you can say that books come out ahead on that score. I love to read, but it's a ridiculous solution to the problem described in this entry. Seriously, "TV is always about beginnings, not middles"? As opposed to Shakespearean comedies, right? If you believe reading a lot of classic fiction is less likely to screw you up than going to the movies with your buddies-- that, in fact, it will keep you from getting screwed up... you probably haven't read all that much classic fiction.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
XKCD.com recently ... (Below threshold)

January 30, 2009 8:19 PM | Posted by Lexi: | Reply

XKCD.com recently posted this comic, and I thought it was funny relative to your post and discussion.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
If narcissism is incurable ... (Below threshold)

February 1, 2009 10:55 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

If narcissism is incurable and widely spread, then it could just as well become a stable trait for humans, or a family of traits covering discrete preferences.

Is it being evolutionary selected?

Is narcissism even bad, from an evolutionary perspective, or just "new" and inevitably against the values before?

Of course, people go to psychiatrists as a result of the suffering it causes, but people also see physicians and that doesn't make reproduction "bad".. does it?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Narcissism is not new. ... (Below threshold)

February 5, 2009 8:09 PM | Posted by Chui: | Reply

Narcissism is not new.

There is no epidemic.

We all suffer from it, in varying degrees.

The author has the right idea. Here is a way out:

Narcissists should withdraw from worrying about "relating" to other people, and start by being solitary. This probably needs to be clarified. When there are people around, there are expectations to be made, there are criticisms to be defended against, and the sense of self becomes stronger.

Absent from external criticism, the person should practice being aware of one's thoughts, classifying them into nice, neutral, or unpleasant. Even when self-criticism arises, one should not latch onto them, but be aware whether they are pleasant, neutral or unpleasant.

Practiced consistently, from morning until bed time, sooner rather than later, the person - out of habit - begin to observe oneself in a detached manner.

It is at this stage, when one has seen enough, finally stops. And starts repairing relationships with other people.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 7 (7 votes cast)
I have always described as ... (Below threshold)

February 16, 2009 3:14 PM | Posted by dwagoner: | Reply

I have always described as "cultural immaturity" what you seem to describe as "cultural narcissism". What would you see as the difference between them?

And thanks for the most enjoyable blog reading I have had in a long while.

-- D

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
if narcissisim was so pr... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2009 5:11 PM | Posted by grasshopper: | Reply

if narcissisim was so prevelant wouldn't fully fledged pathological narcissists be held up as heroes rather than be labeled mentally ill

I think fully fledged pathological narcissists *are* being held up as heroes in this country. How else to explain Bush in the White House for 8 years??? If that man is not the embodiment of pathological narcissism, I don't know who is.

And the blood-suckers who are robbing our country blind and come back with their hands out for more, totally unashamedly begging for money from the public coffers under the guise of 'bailouts'. One may say they're not being treated as heroes, but if our culture doesn't somewhat admire their unmitigated and undisguised gall, how else to explain that these blatant criminals aren't all swinging from the tallest tree? Answer: We admire them. (Yes, that's the royal 'we' - I don't actually include myself in that number.)

I think we love our narcissistic 'leaders', because they give us a model of ultimate greed to aspire to. /snark

The end result of unbridled consumerism/predatory capitalism is this kind of ongoing Emperor's New Clothes Story where we keep ignoring reality because we keep hoping that at some point, in spite of all our pain, we will finally get ours, the American Dream will finally come true, and the suffering will all have been worth it. "You too can be President! You too can be on American Idol/Survivor/whatever the so-called reality show pablum of the day is" (no I don't watch TV, so sorry if I've got the names wrong.)

We will collectively go to our graves holding that uncashed lottery ticket...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
I beg to differ with A S... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2009 5:16 PM | Posted by grasshopper: | Reply

I beg to differ with A Student. Obama is a narcissist. Hence, his cult following. Once the narcissist has been put on the pedestal (in this case by the the media and his followers) the rest falls into place. The dance begins. As a case in point, see all the Obama as Jesus Christ T-shirts and stickers. (BTW - I am a liberal, so this isn't some sort of Obama hatefest).

Jennifer, thank you for saying this! I agree completely, have had the same feelings about Obama all along. In fact there's a YouTube interview of him somewhere where he essentially 'fesses up to the underlying driver of his desire to be Prez: Trying to win his father's approval (his father abandoned the family when Obama was very young - I'm thinking maybe 2?) Anyway, the classic narcissistic ego injury.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
We will collectively go ... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2009 5:41 PM | Posted, in reply to grasshopper's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

We will collectively go to our graves holding that uncashed lottery ticket...

So, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I read: the rich and powerful are evil, and it's unfair that we don't get a piece of that action.

The end result of unbridled consumerism/predatory capitalism is

What would bridled consumerism and symbiotic capitalism look like? If you can precisely define it, it can be implemented. If you can't, it's well-intentioned hang wringing.

finally:

no I don't watch TV

Why do I feel like everyone who doesn't watch TV needs to impress that fact upon me. Kudos.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (3 votes cast)
So, is that a good thing... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2009 8:33 PM | Posted by grasshopper: | Reply

So, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I read: the rich and powerful are evil, and it's unfair that we don't get a piece of that action

I don't say the rich and powerful are 'evil', just that they are selfish, conniving, greedy, and shameless - they 'take what they can and give nothing back' and don't care who they hurt in the process. Which to me is just another way of saying 'narcissistic'. (I believe narcissism *is* an ideology, and it's currently the one running the United States, as witness the behaviors of those in power.)

The predatory lending practices that set off the current economic crisis are currently accepted behaviors in this culture; there was a time (in this very country) where the same behavior was considered a punishable crime: It was called 'usury'.

'Evil' is whatever any given society defines it to be, so that some cultures may condone slavery while others abhor it; in one culture cannibalism may be a sacred religious rite, while in another it may be an unspeakable abomination. Entire social structures are based on (largely arbitrary) rules that may make sense to their adherents but are completely incomprehensible to those operating outside that social sphere. When it comes to 'evil', I'm more of a mind with Hamlet, who said, "Nothing is either right nor wrong but thinking makes it so."

And yes, I will boldly state that I *do* find it unfair that we don't get a piece of that action. I personally don't believe in 'might makes right,' given that I, by circumstances of birth, will never be one of the 'mighty' unless, by some chance (e.g., lottery ticket), I happen to stumble into enough wealth to buy my way up that hierarchy.

In other words, the meritocracy is a crock and always has been. The blindness of privilege...

What would bridled consumerism and symbiotic capitalism look like? If you can precisely define it, it can be implemented. If you can't, it's well-intentioned hang wringing.

Well-intentioned hand-wringing is the first step (for those of us who feel otherwise powerless) toward speaking up against what some of us perceive as injustice. It *starts* with awareness, and may in time grow to a large enough force of discontent to have an actual, real effect, a la Mary Antoinette - I think riots in the streets and massive civil unrest will be the only thing to rebalance the scales toward equity.

And your comments prove the point about narcissism being elevated to the status of heroism: You *do* revere the narcissists who rule our country. Else why make the comments you do? You seem to believe that those who grow fattest *deserve* their wealth, and those of us who suffer do so at our own hand. If you're interested in understanding an opposing viewpoint, try googling "unpacking the backpack of privilege" and see what you find.

Why do I feel like everyone who doesn't watch TV needs to impress that fact upon me

Um - unbridled narcissism, anyone? Given that you've posted as 'Anonymous', I have no clue who I'm writing to (ergo, my comment couldn't possibly be aimed at you specifically).

And I couldn't care less what 'you' (whoever you are) think about me watching TV or not - my comment was to clarify that if I was getting the names wrong, it was because I've never actually watched the shows I mentioned.

Really, it's not all about you...

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
And your comments prove ... (Below threshold)

April 2, 2009 10:14 PM | Posted, in reply to grasshopper's comment, by Anonymous Homogenous: | Reply

And your comments prove the point about narcissism being elevated to the status of heroism: You *do* revere the narcissists who rule our country. Else why make the comments you do?

My comments are meant to illustrate that we can't prescibe how people behave. We can create laws to say what you can't do, but we have no way to control everything else. Maybe we need more "you can't do this" laws, and we're probably going to get some. What then?

It's easy to say how things should be, but it's hard to devise a system that accomplishes that. Will mass rioting make anything better? Thomas Sowell examines the results of the race riots during the late sixties and flatly demonstrates that they ruined those areas forever. Why build a factory in an area known for violence? It's just business. (is there something wrong with that?)

People need to understand the system. You're right about that.

The TV crack was unnecessary. Just one of my pet peeves.


Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
It's just business. (is ... (Below threshold)

April 3, 2009 12:45 AM | Posted by grasshopper: | Reply

It's just business. (is there something wrong with that?)

Yes, there is something wrong with that.

Money should never be more important than people. Ever.

"Just business" has been used to justify many of the most horrific atrocities in the history of humankind, from slavery to genocide.
A partial, random list off the top of my head:

Women left to burn to death in a mattress factory.
The Great Cherry Mine Coal Disaster
Slave ships, Interstate Slave Trade
Bush Helps Disaster Profiteers
Trail of Tears

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
My comments are meant to... (Below threshold)

April 3, 2009 12:59 AM | Posted by grasshopper: | Reply

My comments are meant to illustrate that we can't prescibe how people behave. We can create laws to say what you can't do, but we have no way to control everything else.

It seems that you and I have fundamentally opposing world views, and I'm at a bit of a loss how to respond.

However, I will respond to this:
It's just business. (is there something wrong with that?)

Yes, there *is* something wrong with that. "Just business" has been used to justify some of the most horrific atrocities ever visited by one human on another (I posted another comment with links saying something similar, but the links must have thrown it into moderator purgatory - we'll see if it shows up later).

In my view, money should never be more important than people.

And no, I do not practice that belief perfectly in my life. But I do think about it a lot, and do the very best I can.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
I'm a narcissist. Shit. I'm... (Below threshold)

July 10, 2009 7:00 PM | Posted by j: | Reply

I'm a narcissist. Shit. I'm just barely beginning to understand the implications of my (me, I) own problem.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
So... you know the way to f... (Below threshold)

July 11, 2009 12:23 AM | Posted by spriteless: | Reply

So... you know the way to fix this is to find a role model to be instead. You know. If that's why you're posting here. I suggest the sensitive guy.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Well this is the first time... (Below threshold)

October 24, 2009 9:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Well this is the first time I'm reading this stuff, and I'm impressed and gracious

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
"There are individual narci... (Below threshold)

January 8, 2010 12:26 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"There are individual narcissists with actual pathology and better men than I have described them (e.g. Kohut) but my concern here is with narcissism as a collective, societal, chosen worldview. "Self-actualization-- yeah, let's go with that!" I am not being flippant when I link them together, and associate them with war."

I think we've already gone to war. Isn't the NeoCon ideology (not what it dresses up as to get elected but it's Randian core) really just ideological narcissism?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (3 votes cast)
Alone, perhaps it would be ... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2010 2:33 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone, perhaps it would be useful to link an old post like this one at the bottom of new posts on narcissism. You've been so prolific that many of the questions on newer posts could be answered by posts such as this old one. I started reading your blog last year and reading over this post again after following the blog for a year is like looking at a Wyeth painting again after taking an art history course. It may help answer a lot of the "I'm a narcissist what do I do?!?" emails.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (5 votes cast)
Epic. Thank you.... (Below threshold)

November 28, 2011 8:23 PM | Posted by E: | Reply

Epic. Thank you.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
if you are still writing th... (Below threshold)

December 21, 2011 12:58 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

if you are still writing the book you should maybe use a modified version of this as the intro

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
All interesting points. We ... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2012 12:59 AM | Posted by JayBird: | Reply

All interesting points. We cannot forget Nature vs. Nurture in this discussion.

As we all well know: If a human being is left to fend for itself with very little contact or assistance during it's developmental years? Said human being will present with symptoms of severe mental retardation when tested.

Therefore 1. Narcissism, as we know it, is both cultural and natural to the child 2. It is in fact a choice even if, at times, a subconscious one while simultaneously having elements of natural born human behavior interspersed.

Some are more conscious of their condition than others. Some never will be due to the fact that they shall never be taught otherwise or capable of teaching themselves otherwise.

However those I've known personally? Seem to know exactly what is "wrong" with them when interrogated thoroughly. Even if the responses sound generic? The material they offer up is quite often accurate.

This can take months or even years of highly assertive interrogation before they offer up any such information. You must literally break a narcissist down before they will confess to such knowledge of their own behavior.

Often this is done also as a survival tactic for them. They are complex to a degree that is mind boggling yet so simplistic at the very same time. Knowing this alone about them gives one the key to breaking them down.

Meaning they can explain EXACTLY what their compromised personalities are like. The problem is? 1. They don't feel as if they can ever change and 2. They don't really care at this point in time.

Narcissists are phenomenally cynical and immensely insecure people on the inside. They practically invented the term low self esteem.

Despite their accomplishments in some areas and attempts at perfection. It's all in the name of keeping up an act. Keeping the character alive.

Others however would never admit such a thing even if their lives literally depended upon it. For being exposed? Feels like a fate worse than death to them.

Improper nurturing helps fuel this deep emotional illness and on occasion the natural born affinity for such (which I believe is a much more rare form of the condition quite often based upon other conditions that present with narcissism or narcissistic tendencies as well).

These being opinions of course. Based on direct long term experiences with narcissists themselves.

We mustn't forget full blown narcissism versus possessing some highly narcissist traits: Are two different animals completely.

A full blown narcissist can in fact drive their victim(s) mad. To the point of needing intense therapy or at times even committing suicide!

Also the victim, occasionally, murdering the narcissist in retaliation for the physical, and/or mental/emotional beatings they received for far too long from said narcissist.

It's a truly dangerous condition in its 'purest form' narcissism. and has promoted many a premature death in more ways than one could possibly even count! Everything from severe alcoholism to premature illness to sons killing their mothers.

It's not to be taken lightly nor down played in any way, shape or form whatsoever.

Truly deep rooted narcissism of the highest order?

Is phenomenally ugly, ruthless and quite often a very dangerous illness for both the victim(s) and the narcissists themselves.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
You are so wrong. Where'd y... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2012 4:43 PM | Posted, in reply to JayBird's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You are so wrong. Where'd you take psych (I didn't know anyone who uses the expression 'nature or nurture' anymore---probably because only you do). This thing you wrote:

"As we all well know: If a human being is left to fend for itself with very little contact or assistance during it's developmental years? Said human being will present with symptoms of severe mental retardation when tested."

What is that horrible, presumptuous and wildly inaccurate phrase: "as we all well know"....uhhhhhh....right.....on your planet, maybe. I have information that says children neglected early aren't going to, as your wrote,
"Said human being will present with symptoms of severe mental retardation when tested."
You are good at mimicking the snooty doctor language, though.
Even if you were a doctor, you should have your license revoked. Irresponsible spewing of misinformation. Consider you might be grandiose, yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (2 votes cast)
And stop saying 'mental ret... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2012 7:07 PM | Posted, in reply to JayBird's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

And stop saying 'mental retardation.' It's intellectually disabled or developmentally disabled.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (4 votes cast)
"To say that the geese wer... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2012 7:23 PM | Posted, in reply to A Student's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"To say that the geese were "in love" with Lorenz is a ridiculous anthropomorphization...."

I think it is nice and kind of sweet, especially coming from a man.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
I found this post when tryi... (Below threshold)

September 19, 2012 1:34 AM | Posted by Nearly ex: | Reply

I found this post when trying to find info to help me work out whether my husband is actually a narcissist or if he has been suffering from depression. Is there a way to differentiate easily? I know both conditions are diseases that can manifest as selfishness.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
which do you want to be tru... (Below threshold)

December 21, 2012 2:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Nearly ex's comment, by DGS: | Reply

which do you want to be true? Hint: you already told us.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Dear Anonymous,For... (Below threshold)

December 21, 2012 7:09 PM | Posted by JayBird: | Reply

Dear Anonymous,

Forgive my inadequate use of the english language. If you're interested my experience comes from being raised by a family of narcissists with connections to the Italian mafia. Not the most mentally stable of people.

I have been doing my work with therapy for nearly 17 years. How about you? How many years have you been in therapy?

The intentions behind the post were good believe it or not. I was hoping to share and help open peoples eyes to this condition and the true dangers of it. Out of a desire to assist others.

I have not been diagnosed as a narcissist (as you've so kindly suggested. Thank you very much!) in fact I've been diagnosed as having trauma due to being raised by narcissists. Big difference.

As well as being praised by my therapists for doing so well despite a childhood most couldn't bare.

Forgive me for over stepping "your bounds" lol. It will never happen again.

However, being an assertive human being I stick to some of what was written above regardless of how imperfect it is in your eyes. Even if it isn't considered "politically correct" by the likes of your perfection.

I'd say YOU seem to have some traits! Considering your anger, annoyance or intolerance of my innocent post regarding narcissists. In other words the post certainly wasn't directed toward you in particular. So having such an inense response to it seems odd and yes telling.

I'm no authority however you do seem a bit over the top concerning an internet post which wasn't directed toward you personally.
Food for thought ms./mr. wonderful.

And now I will bid you good day.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
i feel i just got hit with ... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2013 11:06 AM | Posted by Narco Mike: | Reply

i feel i just got hit with a truth bomb, in my face. My mother Sesame Street and a weak and wet father,yours truly a run of the mill narcissist. I'm in shock at how accurate u are about the terminal uniquenes, i know just enough about everything to get a credit,chess,politics,macro economic theory,underground hip hop,Malcolm x,Ali, Guevarra,natalie woods death, iran contra,sexual diamorphism,Salinger and The Shins, enough to make those first encounter hollywood dialogues but after that, welcome to the void, the unbearable lightness of being (which i have obviously never read, i might follow your solution

at the moment i'm in crisis, and you have interupted my suicidal ideation (to which i feel slighly embarrassed to return to)

so thanks for playing an equal and opposite force to my Absurd boy in an absurd world

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
I'm confused about part IV.... (Below threshold)

February 5, 2013 6:06 PM | Posted by Melissa: | Reply

I'm confused about part IV.

When shares that her husband died, would most people feel something?

Or is the point that most people wouldn't feel something because that is an unrealistic idea provided by television?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
I think the comment of "Fas... (Below threshold)

February 14, 2013 9:43 PM | Posted, in reply to A Student's comment, by Dovahkiin: | Reply

I think the comment of "Fascism Marxism then Narcissism" is that they are all stops along the same cultural road. The point of them is that they create an identity that the "self" uses in place of a real identity.

A Marxist sees himself as part of a class struggle. I am fighting for the poor and downtrodden. Therefore I exist and I matter.

A Fascist sees himself in a great cultural and in some cases religious or racial struggle. It's a sense of "My people are the natural leaders and I matter because I as Master [group] Member am fighting for my group"

A narcissist sees himself as the star of his own movie, yet he doesn't always pick the same type of movie. He might choose a romanitic comedy, he might choose a war movie, he might choose a mob movie, but he's a star of a movie of some sort. And he matters because he's the lead of his movie.

What they have in common is: a role to play (protector of the people from the rich captialist pigs, defender of the group from outside threats, or perhaps just a dufus in a rom-com movie), and dismissal of the other as a character in that movie. In nazism, Jews were not real people, they were "bugs" the Other to be killed for the good of the Race. In Communism, neither the poor to be helped nor the rich to be hated were real people. Communists never ask whether the poor wanted to be saved (witness stalin saving the poor Ukrainian farmers from the rich by forcing them into collectives or starving them to death), nor whether the rich were really as greedy as they were made out to be. In any of the mind-sets, you find the same situation. it's about doing TO the other guy, not FOR the other guy. It's about having a story to play in. Which is why such ideologies are attractive in the media age -- we don't have a "self" to be subsumed into the ideology, so the ideology can create the self.

And lest you think American politics are not a part of that, think about how people argue politics. In so many cases, it's more about "fighting injustice" and "defending freedom" and so on than about a policy. Most people couldn't come up with a reasonable tax rate, they couldn't set budget priorities, they don't know enough about big Ag, big Bank, or anybody else to regulate them. It's all about turf -- I'm either the "caring liberal" or the "hard nosed conservative" or the "crazy Ron Paul guy", but don't ask me about specifics. In other words, politics is my identity, not something I participate in.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Ok this is my first time wa... (Below threshold)

May 1, 2013 3:39 PM | Posted by first time poster: | Reply

Ok this is my first time wading into the comment wars and I gotta offer my thoughts on this topic.
I am a sensitive empathetic person who grew up not with narcissistic personality disorder, but rather a narcissistic style, because of a ton of emotional damage. There was a period of a few years where I was finally owning up to how miserable I was, where I read a lot of Sam Vaknin (he's pretty melodramatic, but also has some insight) and started to worry I was a narcissist. It wasn't until I actually met a full blown narcissist that I finally realized fully that I am not one.
Based on my reading and (pretty limited) experience, I don't think full blown narcissists can be cured. Or at least, I don't think they are going to be, because a true cure would have to have an element of boundary disillusion and deep regression to when the original deformation of the personality took place. As for these (hugely unpleasant and dangerous) people, I think it is more important to educate and protect people who might fall victim to them. Hence the quote at the top of this blog: narcissists-suck.blogspot.com/

However, I think I can offer a much more optimistic perspective on the more common issue of people who have narcissistic styles, or who have adapted the values of a narcissistic culture, without the deep deformation of the self that is the full personality disorder. I think there is plenty of hope for these people, and hence hope for our culture. But I don't think fake it til you make it is sound advice. Or at least it is a half truth rather than a whole truth. Yes, it is important to be aware of the serious consequences of narcissistic behavior and values. But serious inner change is possible, and is also more likely to be beneficial for other people in one's life.
There was a great book I read recently which touched on a number of issues, psychological, cultural, and spiritual. It clarified a lot for me. And one of the things it clarified for me is that many of the world's value systems have polarized values around selfishness and selflessness. These value systems elevate selflessness and denigrate selfishness. However,it says that a certain amount of selfishness is natural, necessary, and even valuable. Not only that, but selfishness and selflessness are actually related to each other rather than opposites. Take the issue of love. Does one love one's partner because of the partner, or because it feels good. The answer is both. Love, as well as many other human activities can not be made to fit into a rigid division between selfish and selfless. Also, trying to get people to sacrifice basic needs to a "higher good" doesn't work. Or rather I should say, it can practically work, but it doesn't transform the personality in the beneficial way intended by the value system.
Obviously if one has a great deal of unresolved unhappiness, I am not saying that it is okay for that person to take it out on others around them. But saying suck it up and do your duty to others may be practically useful, but it doesn't transform the dysfunctional personality, or encourage long term change for the individual. Neither am I saying any and all expressions of selfishness are ok. But notice that full blown narcissism, a sort of pathological selfishness, often comes about because of the frustration of early needs, and abuse. So if denying one's self hood only distorts the self,rather than eliminating it, then denying it more isn't a long term solution, although it may be practically valuable for people who need to function and survive. Reconnecting with one's true self, whatever that may be, is possible, and it is even possible to integrate the narcissistic identity into that. But turning selfishness into an absolute evil, and selflessness into an absolute good is not a practical solution for those suffering from narcissistic styles and behavior. What I am saying is very general, rather than specific, but if this is as widespread a problem as TLP puts it, then it is worth it to be very general. In order to help make the world a viable place, people who suffer from these values and patterns need more hope than suck it up for the next generation.
As for people suffering from full blown narcissism, as in someone who's true self has more or less ceased to exist, yeah I don't know what to say. Best to just educate others who might fall victim to them. But I think much of what TLP posts about in terms of popular culture and our identities is more along the lines of a narcissistic style than a full blown deformation of the personality.
This has been on my mind a ton lately, and I am very keen to hear other people's thoughts on this.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (5 votes cast)
I wanna clarify a bit, beca... (Below threshold)

May 1, 2013 6:24 PM | Posted by first time poster: | Reply

I wanna clarify a bit, because what I posed is both very general, and kind of overly intellectual.
To put it in spiritual terms, the ego is not the essence, or the true self. However the idea that to get past egotism, you must smash the ego with a sledgehammer is itself a reflection of egotistical thinking. The ego isn't necessarily opposed to the true self, although in our culture it often is, so it makes sense that people would come up with this perspective.
In another one of these posts on narcissism, several people mentioned the 12 steps. I think the 12 steps is a good example of what I am talking about. Some of the steps are grounded in psychology, and do offer people a program for changing a destructive lifestyle. However I have also read of people complaining of the 12 steps having cult like tendencies, and having experiences where some of the old timers display narcissistic and control seeking tendencies, but in the contexts of the steps, rather than the addictive lifestyle. In my opinion, this is because a lot of the subtext behind the steps still partakes in very simplistic, egotistical thinking where any ego or self hood is seen as fundamentally "bad," and needing to be surrendered to an authority. I would also guess that this mindset has a lot to do with the Christian doctrine of original sin (the 12 steps were originally Christian). But what this leads to is not a bunch of people who through a lifetime of working the steps have totally gotten rid of ego or self. It leads to the same egotism being expressed in a new context. And yes this context is probably better than the hell of deep addiction, but it should not be an ideal for recovery and self healing.
Egotism doesn't have to be purged, it can be integrated into a whole person capable of balancing self centeredness and altruism. I think the (very general) perspective I am espousing here offers more optimism than TLP's "it's always you."
And I say this as someone who really likes this blog.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (5 votes cast)
Thank you for the most posi... (Below threshold)

May 11, 2013 2:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Chui's comment, by Rohini: | Reply

Thank you for the most positive post on narcissism...I have been looking for hope after reading endlessly about how everything I do or don't do , think or don't think, is narcissistic!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
I am the victim of a narcis... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2013 5:13 AM | Posted by SufferingVictim: | Reply

I am the victim of a narcissist, namely, my husband. I've been with him now for almost 14 years. The ONLY reason I've stayed is because I really truly do love my husband, and also because I believe I have some serious psychological issues myself from severe abuse and neglect from childhood, and just cant seem to make myself cut the emotional ties. I always would get a panicky frightened feeling and literally have a panic attack. I have suffered immensely. He has ruined me, victimized me in every way, and still cannot see his symptoms of narcissism even though I've pointed them out, even showing him what he has done and reading info to him about the disorder. He is so criminally selfish, he absolutely refuses to admit that there's anything even the least bit wrong with him, even though he's WELL AWARE of his sins and crimes against me, and especially behind my back that he's been trying to keep hidden and consistently denies. He actually did promise to go to therapy 9 months ago and even signed something saying it, but has gone only a few times to a couple of pastors, (never to return) and to one psychologist twice. He has an appt coming up in a few days though. However, I don't know if he will continue to go this time. Whenever he gets in front of these people, he just lies up a storm and puts on his usual bs act.
I am long past the end of my rope. I don't know what to do. Oh yes, I have my own appt., but no one can say anything to me to make me not love my husband any more just all of a sudden overnight. I don't know how to do that. I don't know how to not feel anything as I kick his sorry ass to the curb which is what I should have done 13 & a half yrs ago!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (3 votes cast)
You can love him and kick h... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2013 10:24 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

You can love him and kick his ass to the curb. If you were his mom can't you imagine loving him and ALSO thinking, "DUDE YOU'RE ACTING LIKE A TOTAL ABUSIVE ASS" and setting consequences?

It really sounds like you need more loving people in your life, this is something you can seek. If you're religious you can join women groups at a local church and there are sometimes non-religious based community groups that value women getting together and supporting each other, building community.

Needing love is a real and valid thing, especially if it was missing in your family. You have an apartment, can you get some therapy and maybe sign up for some body work, dance/movement/yoga, loving kindness meditation, that would help you feel more close with others and loved within your body?

It's very sad for him that his life has lead him to a state where he can't see the needs of his own spouse as valid. It means he needs to lose his spouse and that is very sad for him. You can be sad for him, deeply sad for him, while also realizing that the suffering that he was given by life is really his to take on. You absorbing the blows of his broken personality/life while he is not standing up and taking responsability for his own suffering at all. If you're doing this because you need something from him that's perfectly ok, but seeking REAL love from people who actually care about your well being and feelings would feel a lot more awesome than dealing with this guy. That journey, for you, is also hard and it takes more work. The easy way is always more attractive and comforting- but it can be a trap that sucks you into more and more suffering under the illusion of ease and safety.

I actually hope we do get better at providing support services to men who are abusive. Why do you think he won't be ok if you leave? There are therapy resources and support services he can seek if he needs support. The truth is, good communities and good people don't tolerate abusers, so loving people won't be very accessible to him until he works on his behavior to others. Offering yourself to him as an emotional or physical punching bag is not really going to help him do this, indeed it could be helping him avoid doing the work he needs to do in his own life. If you're worried whether you will be ok without him, you will. More than ok. And remember you never stop loving the people you love, and if they really love you too, they'll never stop loving you either. It's ok to acknowledge that in this situation he is too sick to be with,maybe it's not even his fault, but still move on and look for people who, when they love you, can actually show it in their actions and treatment of you. You can love people from a distance, and get support for how painful this situation is for you, because it all really does suck.

Wishing you love and healing.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (3 votes cast)
I'll put it another way, as... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2013 11:01 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'll put it another way, as someone who really loves him, and will always love him, do you think letting him treat his own spouse like shit is helping him? He needs you to stand up to him. He is out of control and probably doesn't even know why- or possibly has reached a point of blunted emotion that he can't see or care about anything. Staying with him and feeding this beast on his terms is madness and it really won't serve even him. If he were his right self- the person you know he could have been, could be if he were whole and loving within himself-- he would want you to escape this--- to escape-- the person he is right now. He wouldn't want you to suffer this. He is broken and he can't feel his own love for you, you feel it's there somewhere, right? If that's who he REALLY is consider that when a spouse becomes damaged to the point of being dangerous and abusive-- the right thing to do is either get them into forced treatment if they are dangerously mentally ill and if you can't do that, just escape.

There is of course, another possibility which is in some ways more difficult to face. Maybe he actually is a jerk and wants you to suffer. In which case, you don't have to be ashamed for clinging to a delusion that he loves you because you needed that delusion- but there is a wonderful thing in the world and you will never find it so long as you are clinging to a lie to sooth the pain-- REAL love. There are people out there who do this for each other. You can find them. You can even start looking for them before you feel strong enough to leave this guy. You don't need to be ashamed you were/are holding on to a crutch. I personally think it's sweet you have such enduring love for someone even when they are such as ass. However, as a random person on the internet, I would really like to see you use that love you have on people who will see it, cherish it, and give it back to you. If that idea sound overwhelming or scary for some reason, it could be something to work out in therapy. Are you afraid of reciprocal relationships, or that you don't really have the resources or knowledge to participate in them to others standards? I don't know what the obstacles are but you can ask the questions, find the answers and work on solutions and supports for them. These are the kinds of things therapy is for, you can figure it out and have actual relationships. Also think about the fact that there are so many people who would love to be loved, who really need your love too, other than this guy? There are a lot of needy people in the world and many of them are capable of not only taking but also giving-- and would get a lot more out of your efforts than this guy is getting out of it (read: he's sucking up your efforts to love and destroying them in a big vortex of wasted energy- if that's helping you right now there is nothing wrong with you needing help but I think there is REAL help in world that would really serve you better than this). And if you're SCARED about leaving him because he might lose it and take it out on you, please get in contact with a domestic abuse center, they will offer you support and help you gain the strength to deal with this. Alanon support might help you as well if you're working through facing that there are broken people in the world that you love anyway and how to cope with that difficult reality and make some sane decisions about how to handle it within the overwhelming emotions and desperation based thinking.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
I replied to both of your c... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2013 6:31 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by VictimOfNarcissist: | Reply

I replied to both of your comments from my email as an email reply. Hope it went thru ok. So much incredible great info here and advice, I hardly even know what to say! I am definitely at a crossroads. But it seems I've been at this point for quite some time. It sort of feels as if I'm so badly hooked on this addiction to my emotional feelings for my spouse, that I am at the edge of a cliff, and looking over, and know I have to jump to get out of the hell I've been in to put it behind me, but its so hard to take that final jump, especially when I'm still so heavily "addicted".
Everything you said is 100% correct. Knowing I'll be completely on my own with no single person in the world to talk to or to help me , doesn't help with this decision. At least here on this website board is better than zero!. And with such good advice, I just read it over and over and over.........Even after making my appt w/the psych doc, thats just going to be
one person I can talk to about it all, but they are doing it as their job, and my time talking to them will be limited. And then I won't be able to talk to them again for a whole week, maybe more depending on how often they make their appts. So after I leave their office, I'm on my own again and will be all alone in this hideous nasty not-nice world where everyone else would not usually understand, much less give a crap about my issues or want to hear about it.
All by myself, and missing my "life-mate" so desperately, I really do not know what I will do with myself when I make the break. I really don't. How will I be
able to calm my swimming squirming, screaming emotion, and crying out to God to take away the horrible pain and anguish in my heart? How in the world will I ever be able to make myself not love my husband anymore? How will I be able
to stop myself from wanting to contact my ex and be with him again? I'm so
afraid that I will get desperate and come to that point where I don't want to give in to. I want to make a clean break, and wish I could care absolutely nothing
about it; nothing for him. Not once ounce, not one thought. That's where I'm
hoping the self-hypnosis dvd will help me.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
You need some real friends.... (Below threshold)

October 5, 2013 8:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

You need some real friends. Therapy as well, but it's true a therapist is there because they are paid. There are people in the world who will care about you in exchange for you caring about them. See the therapy as investing extra energy INTO you at no emotional cost, so you can be a better friend as you try to find some kindred spirits. It is a cold painful world for many of us. We will all be alone if we don't reach out a hand to others. Also remember, most people like you feel that they need so much more than they can give. It's not true, even now you likely have more to give than you realize. Try a support group for women with similar issues. You can start with just therapy, but explore in therapy getting into some community structures where you can find friends who will understand your situation. The reason I recommend church is that bonding over suffering (abuse oriented support groups) leaves less room for fun/sharing meals and laughing for the sake of it which is a needed thing. But you might want to find people who DO want the kind of community where you can also share the difficult stuff. If you can use a combination of support groups and community activities you can build a routine that includes being with other human beings a lot more and this will help you feel less alone, especially if you work on your issues/mental health with some professionals. Self help stuff can be nice, but you need real people to connect with not just to tell yourself to feel more loved without having actual real connections to go along with it. It's ok to need love. This world is often scarce in it, but there are rays of light from which to grow new relationships that build both you and others up.

If you're waiting for the break to feel completely freeing this will likely not happen, but you can build up the resources you need to make it through the break even when you feel alone and second guess leaving. Build up supportive activities and interactions in your life, hobbies, book clubs. What do you like to do for fun with others, do you know? Dare yourself to actually open up about what your going through in support groups or social setting where talking about emotions and life issues is built into the activity. Listen to others, there are a lot of people who have been where you are and you aren't even remotely alone in this, only you feel that way because you are isolated. You need more than one hour of support a week during a difficult time like this- so finding a combination of support groups and activities would be helpful in addition to therapy as you get ready to add new things. One step at a time. Good luck. I'm sorry it's so hard.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
In a way both are... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 12:41 AM | Posted, in reply to uo's comment, by jonny: | Reply

In a way both are saying "as you're going to pretend anyway, why not pretend being somewhat human" (guide's step 8, post's viii.)

I think what everyone is missing are the fundamental reasons why narcissists are narcissistic; in a world where an entire gender has been largely reduced by traumatic shaming, transforming them into selfless sociopaths who live the lies they create and value themselves based on the illusory effect of their illusions, who project all their failings and shortcomings and blame onto the gender they're enslaving with lies and institutional mores conditioned into mindless children as default patterns of expected behaviour (no one can explain to me why they're getting married), there appears to be little point in enabling them.

Everything is a hijack. Women are trolls blocking every bridge and exit, demanding a toll from anyone who wishes to be left in peace. It's not enough that you aren't interested in carrying them, they'll just impose their imposition onto you, make you suffer (unless you're willing to behave / suffer), attempt to extort value from you, dispose of you as they please and force you to suffer by blocking all access to pain-relieving meds (their poisons run the blockade without incident) or even permit you to leave their cauldron of suffering humanely without pain or trauma.

The answer isn't to accept their terms and propagate their evil. That 4chan guide and some of Alone's advice seems to ignore their pervasive, leaching, predatory, exploitative influence in everything (which has broken everyone and cheapened life to the point where there is no point). You think the solution is to attempt a "meaningful relationship" with a lying leech who has been conditioned from birth to create suffering for 'advantage'?

Kindly explain how it's possible to have a meaningful relationship with a compulsive liar who doesn't even know when they're lying but who is provably motivated to misuse and dispose of you.

2500 years ago, the Buddha said what this guide says and what Alone sometimes says; "What we think, we become."

Why would you imagine the solution is to think like one of their slaves? That will make you one of their slaves.

In this world of horror, lies, violence, cannibalistic molestation and child exploitation, where every value you've been raised to believe is "good" is really nothing more than a whore value intended to make you exploitable and disposable, there can only be virtue only in Truth. And the Truth of a hijack situation is that you cannot negotiate with terrorists; not because it's immoral but because it's impossible. They have no value to negotiate with. There is no "middle ground". There's no compromise possible because the they've moved the goalposts and the new "best result" is inferior to what was the old "worst result". They're selling themselves. They've decided doing what they want to do is the 'favour' they'll do for you. Value? Don't be ridiculous. They'll reward you with their imposition. You can't negotiate with someone who wants you to suffer in exchange for them making you suffer. But if you refuse to negotiate, they'll make you suffer. It's a fucking hijack.

"The only way to win is not to play."

That's the truth. But they make you suffer anyway. You can move to the exit and you'll discover they've blocked every door and rigged every window with explosive consequences for innocents, because they're the whores of imposition and they just care about your Right to suffer.

Who will take care of them? You best suffer to please them. They Know Best.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (5 votes cast)
I am the victim of... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 1:46 AM | Posted, in reply to SufferingVictim's comment, by jonny: | Reply

I am the victim of a narcissist, namely, my husband. I've been with him now for almost 14 years. The ONLY reason I've stayed is because I really truly do love my husband, and also because I believe I have some serious psychological issues myself from severe abuse and neglect from childhood, and just cant seem to make myself cut the emotional ties. I always would get a panicky frightened feeling and literally have a panic attack.

He is so criminally selfish...

So loving him isn't the ONLY reason you've stayed. You're also a broken horror show who can't take care of yourself because you're a filthy whore. You need him, it's clear he doesn't need you. You've latched onto him with your sociopathic love and you refuse to free him from the infernal imposition of your sub-worthless existence.

You're just a filthy liar. The ONLY reason I've stayed is because I really truly do love....and also because I believe I have some serious psychological issues...

He's so criminally selfish because he doesn't take care of you? You poor, suffering victim of big meanies who don't take care of you!

Kill yourself.

Mrs Anonymous: It's very sad for him that his life has lead him to a state where he can't see the needs of his own spouse as valid. It means he needs to lose his spouse and that is very sad for him.

If you're doing this because you need something from him that's perfectly ok...

Look at these demonic leeches. Why would losing this filthy leech be sad for him? He's been trying to get rid of her but she won't let go. Her needs aren't valid. She's a leech imposing suffering. You filthy whores imagine your imposition to be a prize.

Of course she's doing it because she needs something from him. In what world of fuck would that be perfectly ok?

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -3 (5 votes cast)
"Kill yourself"Eve... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 6:46 AM | Posted by blackswan: | Reply

"Kill yourself"

Even if she takes your amazingly sadistic advice, it still won't make you feel any less like a victim. How ironic that you, most likely an incurable misogynist, see yourself as 'the victim'. Perhaps you are not the best person to be advising anyone (especially a woman) about anything. Now go back to beating your own wife. After all, you've already made it quite clear that she forces you to do so.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (3 votes cast)
By the way, Sufferingvictim... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 10:01 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

By the way, Sufferingvictim- please make sure you focus on getting support from places not this website. There are some very disturbed people here who can be psychologically damaging to to even read the comments of. Please take care of yourself and discard the insane ranting of abused/damaged rageshits. Jonny was severely abused as a child from what I can tell and something in him is fundamentally broken. That is sad for Jonny, but potentially more sad for everyone who has the unfortunate experience of sharing a reality with him. In general, looking for love on the internet, or anywhere, that you were unable to find in your family can be a hazardous endeavor because their are so many people who are extremely dangerous to interact with whether they mean to be or not.
It's not so much that the world is filled with abusers, as that people are busy and stuck in their ways and no one will love you the way your parents should have. You probably can't love anyone else the way their parents should have either, the sad part is that your family failed you not that random people don't know how to fix it. When you realize that you can start accepting the small or brief gifts of love people are able to give.

There is nothing abusive about giving and receiving reciprocal love but Jonny has some issues with believing such exchanges must always involve abuse or exploitation. It's sad for him because it means will not be able to have mutually rewarding love- but I am glad he seems to have withdrawn from relationships because he would likely damage (and has already damaged many) anyone he tries to have a relationship with. Whoever abused/neglected him to this extant must have been truly horrible monsters-- or if this is just who he wants to be, he represents exactly the sort of dangerous festering rage of someone with no friends raging against human beings for simply going about life and loving each other.

It's sad that he is capable of reading this blog and not understanding that the opposite of narcissism is truly loving human beings and seeing their humanity as meaningful is well as your own.

I hope you've moved on and aren't reading this nastiness but you can rest assured Jonny will be responding to any comment here because he gets triggered by any interaction provided in these comments-- it's probably through the internet and hate filled comments that he gets the only interaction with humans he can get in this life since he can't just admit that he needs love like anyone else and cultivate healthy mutually reciprocal relationships. I would advise you to simply avert your eyes, there's not much else to do.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Look at the little vermin c... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 11:08 AM | Posted, in reply to blackswan's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Look at the little vermin come out of the woodwork. Filthy little leeches, screaming the same old noise.

sadistic
victim
misogynist
in no position to advise
wife-beater

Smear, putrid smear, more smear. You forgot to make an argument or point.

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (4 votes cast)
Please take care o... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 12:19 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Please take care of yourself and discard the insane ranting of abused/damaged rageshits.

I pointed out her psychotic lying but all you did was validate her delusional victimisation. You even encouraged her to continue abusing the true victim, her long-suffering husband. Criminal selfishness, my ass. He's just sick of taking care of her. That's not a crime. Taking care of her might be.

The truth is, men aren't supposed to take care of you filthy leeches. Your mothers lied to you and you're all just entitled enough to imagine you were slut-shamed for your sakes. Those whores needed to take you out of play until you were duly shamed long enough for your beady Toddler eyes to light up with greed at the perceived 'opportunity' to rape men with your deceit.

106,000,000,000 lives destroyed and counting because you Toddler imps keep purging the young. No one has a right to impose suffering on the living or breed slaves to dip your blood-sucking snouts into. Children only need to love themselves to save this world from you. But no. You evil deviants stand between children and happiness and force them to make you proud, to suffer to please you, to take care of your blemished faces still caked with the whore paint of your criminal rapes. Consent obtained via deception is not valid. To hell with you.

Kill yourself.

no one will love you the way your parents should have.

No one will love you the way you should have. You need to love yourself and leave others alone.

I would advise you to simply avert your eyes, there's not much else to do.

If she can't handle truth, she has twice as many reasons to kick along. You have nothing of value to say. You're just telling her to suffer. Do you need something else to do?

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Jonny, I get that you don't... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 1:04 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Jonny, I get that you don't enjoy trading massages, holding hands with people, sharing words of love and affection, listening to each others problems or giving and recieving any of the acts of affection many people like to give and recieve from each other but there is nothing wrong with people who mutual like or need these exchanges finding each other and sharing them. No one HAS to provide this to anyone else and people are certainly free to not want to partake in such exchanges if they don't like to. Certainly, anyone being manipulated or forced into such exchanges is indeed being abused. I understand that you can't imagine loving interaction between people who care about each other, but it's quite a lovely thing when it happens in a freely given and received way.

While I understand that you don't understand that telling people to kill themselves demonstrates you do not in any way care about their welfare- for any other empathy defective readers- I will point out this is a profound and disturbing lack of empathy for the basic welfare of a fellow human being and demonstrates a very unstable and dangerous state of being. I'm happy you like being alone and don't need love, because that's exactly the kind of life you should be living.

The amount of delusion you have to be living in to truly believe that men who beat their wives or tell them to kill themselves are being victimized by being asked for love by the spouse they CHOSE to vow to love for the rest of their lives is extremely disconcerting. I'm not really writing this for your benefit though because I know you likely can't or won't work through your internal suffering for the sake of feeling empathy again- but seeing as you occasionally get comment favorites here there are plenty of sheep who mindlessly follow your words of wis-dum into glorifying your disturbed notion of enlightened narcissism as a way of life-

It's ironic you do seem to look up to TLP, what if he wanted you to change. Would that impact your willingness to rethink your life strategy and thinking about and treatment of others?

When you explode hatred out into the world, especially if you mix in some distorted references to buddhism or other exotic moralistic teaching to boost the sense of rightousness in your words, people follow. Sad but true. You are not speaking any buddhist truth, nor are you speaking any truth that compassionate teachers have tried to convey to others. Hermits on mountaintops tend to be insane, following their lead into a life of isolation and disdain for people who have loving relationships is a dangerous path to follow. Most buddhists teach service to others, they teach this because they believe human beings have physical and emotional needs, and those who fulfill their needs with meaningful connection and healthy lifestyle will themselves be better able to carry out acts of service and empathy to others. Ever wondered how people could blast on a room full of innocent children?

People like you Jonny, harboring misplaced rage, that is how. I hope as a society we can take note of your life story and how you got the way you are so that we can make sure we don't create or empower more people like you, who make the world a worse place to be in for many people. And also observe the dangerous fact that people favorite your comments and seem to be willing to follow along your lead. Thinking like yours and people's lust for assholes like you to abuse/punish/cut off the weak or the needy is how hitler got into power.

Just a guess, is hitler one of your hero's? If not, do you really think there is much of a difference between your belief system and his? What is the meaningful difference?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
So far, you've responded wi... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 1:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

So far, you've responded with what you feel is a hate filled message with... a lot of ad-hominem, in a condescending way to boot. Sorry, man, but just because you like something doesn't mean it's wrong. You have to actually prove a thing wrong. With, you know facts. And evidence. And maybe some soul searching. You may think his words are poison, but the only poison in this world is ignorance. Bottoms up.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (7 votes cast)
"what you feel is a hate fi... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 1:26 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"what you feel is a hate filled message"

Ha! Define hate. And explain how instructing someone to kill themselves is not a hate filled message. What's more, how is defining for someone else what their emotional needs are, and believing anyone who needs love deserves to be physically assaulted not hate? You're living in delusion and you're a danger to people around you who you are endorsing assault and killing of. That you can't see that involves hate is extremely dangerous to real people in the world who could be physically injured, assaulted, or killed by enacting your belief system simply for wanting to be heard or wanting a hug or a lifemate.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Alone, thank you so much.</... (Below threshold)

October 6, 2013 9:49 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone, thank you so much.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
Jonny, I get that ... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2013 6:18 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Jonny, I get that you don't enjoy trading massages, holding hands with people, sharing words of love and affection, listening to each others problems or giving and recieving any of the acts of affection many people like to give and recieve from each other but there is nothing wrong with people who mutual like or need these exchanges finding each other and sharing them.

If you need your hand held to feel reassured that your partner still cares about you, you are too needy. Where's the value in your needy? Have you bought your own idiotic advertising the way women buy into the illusory value men place on the illusions they fabricate? You probably imagine there's value in the belligerence you've impose on men in your determination to appear to be a shrewd whore. I understand that's not the image you were going for but your mother wasn't exactly Mensa material. You cannot fool anyone worth being fooled when you're only being difficult to avoid the appearance of being too easy. I know your mother told you men wouldn't value your humane biological default. "Sluts are too easy. Men won't like that."

Apparently, men only value whores (ref: your mother).

Men pretend to value talking to you and pretend to value you and pretend that you have a function or use other than your sole interest for one reason; men are miserable and you have led them to believe you have the antidote to their suffering. Poor bastards. I don't know who's more unfortunate, the guy that unpacks the wrapping paper and gets socked by your screaming needy as the booby-prize earned for jumping through all your stupid hoops or the guy left wondering why he wasn't good enough. He'll know he needs more.

Every guy knows he needs more. The need is out of the control, burning up the entire world but the truth is, men don't need more. You have nothing to offer in exchange. You bring nothing to the party but expensive dependency, hostile belligerence and endless dramas triggered by your antisocial combative nature (which you blame everyone for but yourself).

"Hey girls, let's sell men our HEARTS rather than our bodies. Let's demand men prove their LOVE before sex. We need their emotional vulnerability before we will do the one thing we chose to be good for. We're not whores, we only have sex for love!" *teehee*

Prostitutes have sex for money.
A whore is their moral inferior.

I'm very functional, as honest people will always be. Direct. To the point. I don't need the bullshit fluff needed by broken humans. Polite Society's whores need all that insulting sleaze to defeat the purpose of discourse. They have to disrupt people like me or my honesty illuminates their malicious intent. They have the gall to call their disruption "social skills". No. Antisocial skills. You have to be antisocial because you're predatory leeches without a single iota of value to contribute.

You withhold every non-malicious trait to repackage for sale as Services peddled to victims of your Denial of Service.

To peddle your sex as a Favour, you embrace 'purity' as default (often breached but always denied so it's like it never happened *teehee*). To peddle your pain relief as Comfort, you inflict pain by default. To peddle your non-malice as a Service, you're malicious by default. To peddle "your real" (still fake), you deceive by default.

"You don't get to see my best side if you can't put up with my worst side."
goo.gl/o4R6E0

But you don't have a best side. It's a scam for guys who endure your worst just to see your breasts. That's your 'best'. That's as good as it gets. Sometime after 30, you lose your last redeeming quality. And that's where my advice comes in.

"A woman can be your best friend, wife, enemy or worst nightmare. It all depends on how you treat her."
goo.gl/98AGsw

That's what the propaganda says. But you can't be my friend or my wife if you cannot treat yourself right. So your existence is all downside. There's no upside to you being alive. You smear your putrid projected smut onto men to reduce them into feeling dirty, miserable and worthless. So you can fuck them. You do the same thing to your children. So you can screw them. You drag everyone down into the gutter with you to make them need you.

You literally scoop out the brains of your kids to make them need you. Home is where the heart is but this is what your mother did to your mind: A child's brain has twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood.
goo.gl/MwKx1g

You'll never guess where the 'extras' go. Discarded due to disuse. So keep putting your foot down when you cannot make a logical case to justify your malice. Keep lying to prop up your shrewd scheming. Keep forcing them to mindlessly obey like authoritarian slaves. Keep making your children not want to think any more. Keep embarrassing them in public with your stupidity. Keep making them cringe at your needy smothering. Keep making them ashamed of human DNA. Keep destroying everything pure and decent and fun. And go rot in Hell with all the other half-brains.

You whores have no idea what you've done. Paradise. Lost. You reduced yourselves to sub-worthless hijackers and look. Everyone's as worthless and needy as you. Lying, fighting, imposing. Go rot in Hell.

Humans treat humans who take care of themselves as equals. Whores must be treated humanely. If you can't take care of yourself, why are you even here? To create suffering so of course you'd be pro-Life, I know, I understand. I get that. But I have a better idea.

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
You are not speaki... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2013 7:22 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

You are not speaking any buddhist truth, nor are you speaking any truth that compassionate teachers have tried to convey to others.

Everything I'm saying was said by the Buddha 2500 years ago. I don't care what half-brain monks are babbling now. The Buddha preached the purest truth imaginable: the fundamental importance of SELF.

The Buddha lived to help the victims of women escape their infernal leaching.

“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil: envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.

Desire and illusion (Maya). Women are the root of all evil. Men are happy to work for a living. Women's depraved sleaze destroyed everything. The Buddha's mother was named Maya, by the way.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

Stop disturbing the peace.

“Doubt everything. Find your own light.”

Doubt everything mothers say.

“Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

Freed from mothers' fear, dependency and 'help'. He knew your slave tricks.

“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”

You whores don't love yourselves truly or you could never need to make men or children suffer.

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you.”

Conquer yourself and stop fighting men. Do that and you won't need to fight.

“Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except your self.”

No marriage! Marry your Self.

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

Men cannot save you. You have to save yourself.

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”

That ship has probably sailed.

“Purity or impurity depends on oneself, no one can purify another.”

Stop slut-shaming children.

“Even as a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame.”

No external validation. Validate yourself.

“You are the community now. Be a lamp for yourself. Be your own refuge. Seek for no other.”

How many of these do you need to understand what he's saying and who he was saying it to? Stop looking for others to lean on. Lean on yourself.

“Make of yourself a light.”
“If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone. There is no companionship with the immature.”

He's talking to men about women. There is no girl in my league. They're all Toddler whores creating illusions of deceit to rape men, giggling at me telling me "you think too much" or "too serious" when I call them out on their 'fun' lies.

“Attachment leads to suffering.”

Yes. Suffering 'victims' who won't let go of their 'criminally' selfish prey.

“He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.”

The Buddha despised the evil of love. That's a Christian slave value used to blind boys and men for war and exploitation.

“You only lose what you cling to.”

Let go of your victims.

“Pain is certain, suffering is optional.”

He knew women create all the suffering. Men enable your inflicted suffering. They only have themselves to blame.

“Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.”

You demons stigmatize death to prevent your slaves from escaping your cauldron of suffering.

“Our theories of the eternal are as valuable as are those that a chick which has not broken its way through its shell might form of the outside world.”

The Buddha's truth has nothing to do with Buddhism. Those filthy corrupt monks know nothing of the Buddha's light. I'm saying exactly what he said. You need to take care of yourselves. Men aren't supposed to take care of you.
_____________________________

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
explain how instru... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2013 7:50 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

explain how instructing someone to kill themselves is not a hate filled message.

When an injured animal is dying, flailing around in pain, hurting innocents but unable to heal itself or put itself out of its misery, there is only one humane option.

You're inhumane because your entire facade is an illusion. You're fake. So you're pro-Life which is the same thing as pro-Pain. There is no virtue in suffering for no reason.

The Filthy Bum and the Dying Pigeon - (a story I posted on Quora about childhood trauma got a lot of up-votes)
goo.gl/9X1cbo

"May all that have life be delivered from suffering." (the Buddha)

I'm telling everyone creating suffering how to deliver themselves from suffering and find peace. You're telling them how to continue suffering and disturbing the peace. I'm humane. You're empathy-bankrupt. Stop stigmatising death. If you can't see the truth above, you know what you need to do.

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
jonny, I take it your scree... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2013 1:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

jonny, I take it your screed is used to ensure women believe they must give you sex, on your terms, or else they are a filthy whore (having NEEDS!)

Unless you mean to say the ideal is celibacy and an end to the human species. Something tells me that in YOUR ideal, the women will blow you without having any wants or desires from you in return. Does that sound about right? Since that can't happen, everyone being celibate is the next best thing?

This enables you to scream at, rage at, physically assault, insult, or otherwise attempt to damage anyone you want sex out of and seems to want normal human things like love or affection in return or as part of the exchange. It's fine to seek women who want ONLY penis in vagina with no emotional sharing and no financial exchanges and who is on birth control so she won't be dealing with the problem of the children you don't want to provide for while she is nursing and caring for a small child. (Let me guess, children should be raised in social isolation anyway and not ever given love or affection because that will make them weak?) But if this is your perspective of an empowered woman, no children, no needs, no interaction with men other than to bend over and accept penis for the sake of it, it strikes me as exactly the problem that was just addressed in the most recent post about narcissistic men presuming women should deliver sex without having wants or needs of their own?

Are you a real person, or a parody of a person depicting narcissism in it's most sociopathic form? Asceticism is only worthwhile so long as it serves the welfare and enjoyment of beings. To sacrifice for the good of the later self or others, to refrain from pleasures that will cause worse suffering later, this can be noble, but asceticism for it's own sake becomes it's own form of oppression. Many people love affectionate interaction. You don't have to like that at all, but why would it matter to you if other people enjoy each others company? No healthy woman would get anywhere near you, so I believe you the only women you have experience with are women who have been damaged and who may be dangerous or abusive, not to mention, some women react badly to being told to kill themselves. What pathetic bitches, they don't know how to take some good advice amirite? But your belief about what women should give to you in exchange for.. nothing... is exactly the sort of narcissistic nonsense discussed in the recent guinness post

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Jonny, your thesis seems to... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2013 2:00 PM | Posted by Mister M dog sire the third and a half: | Reply

Jonny, your thesis seems to be that women, as they are right now, are broken, vaipd, generic negative connotation, ect. and that men have been fooled into believing that they are like themselves, when in reality men are capable of more than women. But you have not provided evidence or argument for this. You have simply twisted Buddhist teachings through a very specific interpretation. The anon that is arguing with you is wasting his time because you're not making an argument, just simply ad-hominem through the pretense of enlightenment. Logical consistency does not belay truth, sorry to say.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (5 votes cast)
jonny, I take it y... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2013 7:12 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

jonny, I take it your screed is used to ensure women believe they must give you sex, on your terms, or else they are a filthy whore (having NEEDS!)

No. My terms are that I don't pay whores to insult me by expecting me to take care of them in exchange for doing what they want to do 10x more than I biologically even could.

My terms are that women do not get to rape me by seeking to acquire my consent via deceit. I do not give my consent for women to rape me. So I sleep alone because every girl is raised by mothers who condition them to rape men.

Consent gained via deception is rape. Women use cosmetics because the men they want to sleep with won't sleep with them if they tell them the truth. That's rape.

My terms are DO NOT RAPE ME
goo.gl/sPfidf

Women refuse to stop the rapes. They were led to believe they're entitled to rape men. It's what they were told they deserved.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
No healthy woman w... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2013 7:36 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

No healthy woman would get anywhere near you

There are no healthy women, you stupid whore. You can't even read. Your mind is custard.

You are not healthy if you NEED to lie to those you (ostensibly) care about.

Your putrid need for lies and violence to 'persuade' men and children to do what you want them to do (take care of you, fuck you, suffer to please you) is the disease that destroyed the world. You need to be selfish. Your selfless imposition on others has only one solution.

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
Jonny, your thesis... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2013 7:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Mister M dog sire the third and a half's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Jonny, your thesis seems to be that women, as they are right now, are broken, vaipd, generic negative connotation, ect.

No. You've misunderstood me. I'm saying anyone who needs to impose suffering on others to sustain their existence needs to be removed from this life or the world destroyed by their psychotic lying and use of violent force to persuade will continue to race towards M.A.D.

This is not complex, you stupid half-brained twits. If you need to lie or use violence to get people to do what you want, whether it's fuck you or take care of you or please you, you need to be treated humanely. You have no Right to Rape or Enslave humans with deceit or force. If you need lies or violence to get people to do what you want, you need to leave.

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Dear woman originally writi... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2013 8:54 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Dear woman originally writing in- again I hope you have moved on from reading these commens, but just to be clear- there is no indication you have used lies or deciet or done anything wrong to deserve being abused. If you find Jonny's ranting harmful or it makes you upset, please print this thread and take it with you to a therapy session and say you were really rattled by this and want some support with it. It's upsetting to me to see you talked to this way and you certainly don't deserve it. While it should be clear to most people Jonny is nuts, when you're sensitive and have an abuse history and don't have positive people in your life to counter the hate filled ranting of nutty people- it can really hurt. These have never been very empathetic comments here at this blog, so here's to wishing you on to find some better people and support, and to hoping you're not still reading here in any case.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (4 votes cast)
""Jonny, your thesis seems ... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2013 10:35 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

""Jonny, your thesis seems to be that women, as they are right now, are broken, vaipd, generic negative connotation, ect."

No."

One word in and you're already wrong, some kind of record:

"So I sleep alone because every girl is raised by mothers who condition them to rape men."

"Women refuse to stop the rapes. They were led to believe they're entitled to rape men. It's what they were told they deserved."

The point you think you're arguing may be one of anti-suffering, but the point that you're actually arguing is almost 100% fixated on women. When you say "every girl is raised to rape" you're saying "EVERY girl is raised to rape" which immediately turns 3 billion people into caricatures. Because, as we all know, no MAN would ever lie to a woMAN about anything in order to sleep with them, right?

Now, you may argue that men in fact do this as well, but you seem to think (based on what your words said) that EVERY SINGLE WOMAN EVER gets sex through rape. Would you say that every, or even most men rape through any sex? If so, at least your viewpoint would be self-consistent, and have the side effect of lining up perfectly with Ayn Rand's opinions on the matter.

"Kill yourself."

Cute, but my truth will still be truth even after your lies die.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
That was me, by the way.</p... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2013 1:40 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by That M Guy Again: | Reply

That was me, by the way.

Or was it


It was.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
When you say "ever... (Below threshold)

October 9, 2013 5:41 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

When you say "every girl is raised to rape" you're saying "EVERY girl is raised to rape" which immediately turns 3 billion people into caricatures.

When I say X, I'm saying X. I don't need you to point that out.

You haven't actually argued anything. You just said what I'm saying and alluded to it wrong. Your mind is custard. 55 billion women have been slut-shamed and another 50 billion men traumatised as well by the projected shame of their horrifically-broken mothers who co-opt the evil for 'advantage', breaking toddlers' minds, making them ashamed of innocent purity. You're wearing clothes, you fool.

Where's your argument?

Because, as we all know, no MAN would ever lie to a woMAN about anything in order to sleep with them, right?

This Toddler bullshit is so pathetic. The misogynist feminists pull this shit endlessly. You're trying to make a defence argument for what women are doing by saying, "But sometimes men lie too!" Who gives a fuck?

Men are fucking irrelevant. They don't give birth. This world was created by mothers. Men are irrelevant because they are the sons of their mothers. Nothing in this world is in their control. Only mothers can dictate religious, cultural and societal values. It's all about mothers.

you seem to think (based on what your words said) that EVERY SINGLE WOMAN EVER gets sex through rape

I have proved using irrefutable logic that every single woman who acquires consent by deceiving someone who would not have given consent otherwise, is guilty of RAPE. This is not my opinion. I'm made the logical point. It's done. You can't just disagree and say it's not rape because you strongly feel otherwise.

Would you say that every, or even most men rape through any sex?

Why would I say that? Why are you saying that? Where's your argument? Make an argument or zip it. I would not say that because it's not true. I have never raped.

You have made zero points. Why are you babbling at all? Are you just a Toddler with strong feelings and a certainty that you Know Best?

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Dear woman origina... (Below threshold)

October 9, 2013 5:57 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Dear woman originally writing in- again I hope you have moved on from reading these commens, but just to be clear- there is no indication you have used lies or deciet or done anything wrong to deserve being abused.

Mrs Criminally Selfish, just to be clear, there is every indication that your husband wants nothing to do with your worthless leaching and transparent projecting of your vampiric need to suck the life out of the world. I have already highlighted your brazen lying about why you have remained with him.

Grow up. Truth is never abusive. Only lies can be.

It's upsetting to me to see you talked to this way and you certainly don't deserve it...when you're sensitive and have an abuse history and don't have positive people in your life to counter the hate filled ranting of nutty people- it can really hurt.

He is the one that doesn't deserve your bullshit. You have never deserved anything because you never took responsibility for yourself. There is no virtue in positive lies. There is no virtue in coddling bullshit. There is no virtue in any of you.

There will only ever be virtue in logic and truth. You know your true worth. It's why you cannot love yourself. You need to take care of you. This is how.

Kill yourself.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (2 votes cast)
Reading this article 6 mont... (Below threshold)

October 12, 2013 6:06 AM | Posted by sam: | Reply

Reading this article 6 months after I first diagnosed myself as a narcissist after reading this and other articles on the blog.
Now I have finally cured my narcissism. I think TLP knows how to cure it too, yet is cruel enough not to help out. To everyone who is desperately trying to figure out a cure, keep going brothas and sistas, the solution is nearby.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Hi Brooks, I know you poste... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2013 9:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Brooks's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Hi Brooks, I know you posted this 4 years ago, but I would like to argue the opposite. I have narcissistic traits. If there is a biggest flaw of the narcissistic trait, it is cluelessness. I think most narcissists are probably extremely unaware of their own narcissism. As many psychologists have noted, narcissism is a complex trait. It manifests as self-confidence and desire to please others and grandiosity, but it is rooted in a lack of self-esteem. That's a paradox. How do people who are 'shallow' in that they are so concerned about others' opinion of themselves and their own insecurities, even made aware of this by their own revelations? No, I think they have to be told. Or be lucky enough to run across this insight as they google their relationship problems, as I did. I think most people who have narcissistic traits do have real emotions but only when they are by themselves, because around others, they can get so very clouded by this extreme self-consciousness that kicks in. At least for me, that's how I see it.

Anyway, I came to realize this condition about two months ago sept. 2013. It was a big moment for me. I was already aware of my issues with self-consciousness but what I wasn't aware of was my inherent need to please everyone and also some kind of inherent working in my mind that wouldn't allow me to empathize correctly with other people. This article really helped make that clear to me, so I would like to thank the author very much for writing this. Anyway, I don't think any of this is incurable. I have read many sources that have claimed narcissism to be 'incurable' and I really take issue to that, because that 1. how does the psychologist really know? He/she does not have this trait. 2. 'Incurable' can be discouraging, especially for those who are want to do something about it. Anyway, for me, I don't really care. I'm going to try very hard anyway and disprove those psychologists. Because the way I see it, there's nothing to lose by trying. Because we live this life once (whether you believe in reincarnation or not)and we are dealt a certain hand that is none of our choosing and then we die. I don't want to die without having tried, is my philosophy.

There have been several things have helped for me weaken my self-consciousness and make more emotional connections to others. It has not been easy and I have made numerous 'mistakes' like not knowing to respond when someone is coughing up really badly, etc. although I learned that I really need not respond in all!

Anyway, here's the list:
-looking up the narcissistic trait
-watching documentaries/youtube videos
-journaling about it and trying to make sense through writing -reading classics - studies of human character

I find that the latter two to be the best ways to manage this trait. Reading helps me step outside of myself and sometimes I feel deeper emotions that make me feel more 'normal'. In fact, I was made aware recently that there are studies in the social sciences that have concluded that reading literary fiction can improve one's social skills. I think narcissists lack in the social skills department. I think reading (lots and lots) and, if possible, joining a discussion group in school or in a club or online, would be really therapeutic. I've also found that writing about myself in the third-person helps some.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (3 votes cast)
Thanks Alone, and most of t... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2014 11:34 PM | Posted by johnnycoconut: | Reply

Thanks Alone, and most of the commenters

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
a.k.a "Narcissism in Lit... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2014 8:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Alone's comment, by The Fat Girl: | Reply

a.k.a "Narcissism in Literature"

Take the case of Andre Dubus' "The Fat Girl."

In an initial, "naïve" reading, the trouble with loving a fat person is the fat person. "We" are just not wired that way, to be attracted to fat people.

Of course, this doesn't hold up to examination. In a second, "narcissistic" reading, the problem is not with the fat person, per se, but with the symbolic network, the big Other. This reading is the only properly narcissistic one because by "seeing through" or "penetrating" the initial, naïve reading, we believe we have cured our ideology. Accordingly, while the narcissist "concedes" that the truth of his/her desire is not natural but historical, cultural (e.g., "The Romans used to be attracted to fat people because that's what Rome valued -- that is no longer the case"), s/he fails to see how this so-called realization is itself a defense against the actual insight, which reveals itself in the third reading.

The problem with loving a fat person isn't about/with the fat person, nor is it with the society: It is with the beholder. The only "problem" with loving a fat person is that loving a fat person is a problem. And the reason it's a "problem" is because people don't like to see themselves as the type of person who is only worthy of a fat person's love. "What does my love for a fat person say about me?" That is the question the narcissist simultaneously addresses to and conceals from him/herself. All of his/her sexual energy is spent avoiding a direct formulation of the question, thus it organizes his/her desire while remaining out of sight, repressed, unconscious.

The final insight to be gleaned here is of the constitution of the Symbolic Order. In a final analysis, the entire symbolic network is nothing but a manifestation of our collective neuroses, a society's systematic self-delusion, a veritable archaeology of knowledge.

Narcissism IS an ideology, it is NOT a pathology. An ideology is "the body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture."

It is the Symbolic Order itself that is pathological because it reveals the extent of the symptom, the degree to which its subjects are alienated.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Second to last paragraph is... (Below threshold)

April 21, 2014 8:14 PM | Posted by The Fat Girl: | Reply

Second to last paragraph is Alone's; block quotes didn't take.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
I SUFFERED FROM ERECTILE DY... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2014 9:11 PM | Posted by sandra: | Reply

I SUFFERED FROM ERECTILE DYSFUCTION THANK GOD DR SAMURA GAVE ME ADU B1 HERBAL REMEDY DRUGS AND THIS DRUGS CURED MY SEMEN LEAKAGE.. WIRE HIM VIA: SAMURATELLERSPELL100@YAHOO.COM OR CALL HIM +2348103508204 AND YOUR STRENGTH SHALL RESTORE WITH HIS HERBAL REMEDY DRUGS.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
fuck u and go to hell... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2014 6:09 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

fuck u and go to hell

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
In my opinion, this post do... (Below threshold)

November 10, 2014 2:19 AM | Posted by : | Reply

In my opinion, this post do capture something valuable, worth noting, but it isn't a balanced representation of...you.

Friend to be,

I'm not going to lie to you, its going to be painful, humiliating. Strange thing is, when you're through, when looking at it in hindsight you'll realize that your progress could have been much much faster. It's about you and your self-interest, just not the way you're trained to think.

I won't lie, the mentality described in this post isn't healthy. It's not a matter of opinion: it hurts you yourself, and degrade everyone around you.

Most healthy people, if not all, find it challenging to converse about relations, connection and emotional intimacy. It can be so silly, so childish, yet true.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
I'm interested.... (Below threshold)

November 10, 2014 6:47 AM | Posted by johnnycoconut: | Reply

I'm interested.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)

Post a Comment


Live Comment Preview

November 26, 2014 01:16 AM | Posted by Anonymous: