I’ve been wanting to do this post for a long time. So here it goes. I haven’t even heard of this term until the last few years. And even when I first heard it, I read the definition and thought not much of it. Some friends and family tossed some names about and said “yeah, so-in-so must of been THAT” and we would laugh and go on.
As the term gets used more and more and I learn more and more, I start to REALLY consider, is there really something to this?
Could some of the problems I have experienced with others have been narcissistic behavior. And as you sometimes do when reading about diseases or disorders, you often wonder – well gosh, am I that way too?
It began to intrigue me and I studied a little more about it, by watching some YouTubes on it. The more I study on it the more confused I am. So the term seemed to just pop up (at least in my world and on my radar) a few years ago. But have we just all of a sudden developed narcissism in our society? Ummm no I don’t think so. I DO think the world is getting more selfish as scriptures tell us that it would, but these types of people have been around for ages. I had to wonder if we didn’t call them “egotistical” or “egomaniacs” or simply just “self-centered” and if we were nice just “self absorbed”.
As the world gets more selfish, I believe we all do. You can easily see it. I mean even at the family level – for example when a husband starts being selfish, the wife may become selfish or vice versa. And in society you see it, when one demands rights the others start to demand it too from their view. And as a result, of everyone being so selfish, you really have had to look inside yourself on EVERY level to be able to take care of yourself because NO one else is gonna do it.
As for me….At the age of 28 to 30 I began to see a change in the way the world viewed me. I realized I had gone from getting lots of attention, having lots of friends, having a huge network of people on every level of my life from high school, college, a couple of work places, churches as my world began to explode. And then at some point it began shrinking again and the pools of people around me shrunk. There were people I did not see or relate to anymore as my worlds had changed. And there had been some family crises at that time as well because of some decisions I made. I really felt the difference. I was settled down, married, had a child, and my world was and had changed dramatically. Instead of dealing with a lot of people from various avenues I had more focused relationships in a much smaller of a circle, and with people I had not known for very long – new spouse, new family, new church, fairly new job. My support network was entirely different. I think for myself that was about the age where I realized “ain’t nobody gonna care for me and I gotta lookout for myself”. I think that is a point where I began to be more self-absorbed. I began to lookout for myself, defend myself, and nurture myself in ways I needed. I didn’t always do too good in that either. I often misread what I thought I needed. I do not think that is narcissistic. It’s called saving yourself and trying to figure things out.
Now I have had people in my life that loved to manipulate, get their way, that were controlling, demanding, and would throw tantrums if they didn’t get their way. And because of that, I think I became very defensive and very much on the lookout to preserve myself and avoid conflict as much as possible.
So let’s look at what the psychologists call Narcissism:
excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance. Similar: vanity, self-love, self-admiration, self-adulation, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-conceit, self-centeredness, self-regard, egotism, egoismegocentricity, egomania
PSYCHOLOGY: selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
Well, when I look at the definition, I see a LOT of those things in just about all of us! So I wondered what the difference was then between a narcissist and a normal person -ummm, if there is such a thing! I mean I don’t hang out in the mirror though but I do like to look out for myself and I get quite self absorbed in my world – my to do list, my projects, my work zone, my time etc. So am I a narcissist?
Society teaches us to self-love, self-care, and to be more selfish. I even know someone whose word of the year is “selfish” – but they mean it in a way of self-caring. But is society pushing this too far? Are we not thinking enough about our neighbor? Is the devil slyly trying to make us all be more selfish? Ohhh I bet ya bottom dollar the devil and his schemers are pulling that wool over a lot of people’s eyes. I think we are called to love one another if we are followers of Christ. And we have to see beyond ourselves to do it.
Scarily, as I read and listened more on the subject, I was learning that the narcissist often doesn’t know they are one and most importantly, can’t usually turn around from being one. Now THAT is where I really get thrown off a ledge and that is pretty scary. That almost seems like a medical/mental condition. I’ve always believed people could turn around from being selfish and self centered, by just developing a heart and learning how to have some empathy — and just quite frankly learning to love others as God commanded. So are you telling me that some people just are like robots and can’t experience or love others?
Whoa, I get so confused here. I thought everyone could turn around from being selfish and egocentric unless they are so mentally off they can’t. And maybe that is the case. It’s likely a mindset that is just stubborn and set in stone? And then I read that 1 in every 20 people is a narcissist. Wow!
So I know the narcissist takes being selfish to an extreme. And I made up my mind that maybe people are not really narcissistic if they can do the following:
- Want to educate themselves on the topic and learn to self-help themselves, and spend more time looking outside themselves for ways to love and help others. This is a sign of wanting to change and acting on it.
- Can genuinely apologize when they realize they have done something wrong. A narcissist doesn’t think he/she does anything wrong.
- You struggle with anxiety and self -doubt – which seems to be the opposite of being ego centrical, conceited, and think of yourself as inflated above others and expected to be treated better than others.
- If you have the ability to feel guilt – you are probably NOT a narcissist.
So I was finally able to talk myself out of thinking that I could be narcissistic. lol. I do think I get very self involved with my own world a I’ve been used to being in it now for almost 60 years trying to figure my world out. If I’ve ever been too selfish or inconsiderate, I didn’t mean to.
There have been times when as a manager trying to make it in a Man’s world where I’ve had to be manipulative (I called it creative) to be able to get things done or accomplished or approved – but it was all for the good of everyone – not just my own agenda. I had to be assertive and throw my weight around a bit to be heard. I was not one to sit like a mouse in the corner until later when I finally got tired (burned out) of being stressed out with too much responsibility and not enough support/help to do all that needed to be done.
There have been time in my marriage when George would want things a certain way and then I began drawing my lines in the sand as well.
There have been times in my life where I concentrate on something and block everything else out. I can be at the copier making copies and someone walk by me and I don’t say anything. My mind does not even see them because I’m so lost in thought about this, that, or the other. That drives George crazy, Mom crazy, and probably anyone around me crazy. I don’t hear them because I’m blocking it all out to focus on what I’m focusing on. My mind can only focus on one thing and I have a very difficult time controlling that.
We just don’t live in a world where everything is easy and if you don’t suit yourself you will be living for everyone else. I think we should love others and consider others but I think we have to take care of ourselves and our own needs too. I also don’t think that chasing one’s goals makes you narcissistic.
So all that said, I DO think there are some narcissists around. And I do think we need to learn who they are in our world and how to deal with them so we can set boundaries, be the grey rock, and so forth so that you don’t feel the manipulation, get exposed to the tantrums and all that. Sometimes you can’t exactly step away totally from one. You just have to learn to side-step from them. You can’t feed them information that they will tangle you with. There’s so much here I could blog about but this is not be trying to educate anyone on it. It’s just me working through thoughts I’ve had and sharing where I am with the topic and seeing what you think?
So from what I have read, when you disengage with a narcissist, what worked before for them (their behavior/manipulation) no longer works. You have to learn not to be bothered by them and most certainly learn not to REACT to them because they LOVE to see you REACT. Once you realize the person is never going to be what you want them to be, you will quit trying and hoping to change them. They have to do that work on their own. If they can. But when you realize they will never be emotionally able to have the relationship you want, you quit taking it personal. Boundaries are key. They can get more abusive though as you set them and you have to realize that.
I’ve been told once you learn that someone is narcissistic you suddenly have the upper advantage as you know what you are dealing with. You can lower your expectations of the person, be mindful of it and not be reactive. You are accepting that they are out of control, that they are toxic and diseased. And people who are being manipulative are usually hurting inside or they are afraid of something. And they are unable to self-soothe, control themselves, and they will manipulate in any way they can to get their way. Thus the tantrums at times. But you don’t have to react, just witness it, be calm, and do whatever you need to do from there – “we can talk about this later when you calm down” etc.
The tactics a narcissist will use on you is one of these “drinks of choice” (lol):
2. Guilt tripping you
3. Raising their voice
4. Needing agreement (you must share their opinion or you are no good)
5. They need to be the one in control
When I see these, I think we have all done these things from time to time and I think that is what scared me when I read about it and I began wondering if I was one. Then I was thinking we are all one. lol.
I do feel like I have some narcissistic people in my world. And after all the research I’m still thinking we throw the word around loosely now as if they are aliens and not among the real human realm. I think they are lovable even though they may not can love us back like we’d like, or befriend us like we’d like, or be the coworker we would like. But God still commands us to love one another so we shouldn’t write them off as people. After all, I think love is probably the only way that they may can even be reached.
With a narcissist we often we try to get validation (be liked, approved, try to please) the narcissist type of person in your world and it’s a never ending road. You never reach your destination But don’t take it personally. Their ego causes them too much shame also to take responsibility for their actions or to say “I’m sorry”. You need to be rested and not stressed to deal with them. So we have to try to love them, set boundaries, and learn strategies for dealing with them in your life.
If this intrigues you at all, do your own research and let me know what you think. You can still let me know what you think.
All I want to say is if I ever made anyone feel like I was a narcissist I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I think we often don’t realize the ways we impact others and we won’t until we listen and learn. If we have that capability I think that is good. There were a lot of years I didn’t and wouldn’t listen because I thought I was right all the time. I’m not right all the time. I only usually raise my voice at the dog now when he’s chewing up something. Or occasionally George if he sees me struggling and won’t help (I did that recently). My bad. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t guilty but maybe he just didn’t understand the situation. I try to ask before just raising my voice. I do feel the need to be in control of my life, but not necessarily anyone else’s. lol
- I didn’t get the Shingles Shot. Even though I called ahead to see when I could get it (it’s a Walk in thing). I was told they were open til 5. They were but the docs and PA’s had gone. Dang it! So I will go in the morning.
- The next video is scheduled and will go live in the morning at 7:00 am on YouTube “Less Hustle More Coffee”.
- We had pizza at Mom’s last night and took Fancy’s leash back. George hung something outside on her patio wall with his drill, helped her hang a pic and also lifted some heavy boxes for her. Thank goodness for him.
- And I’m so ready for this weekend.
What are ya’ll doing this weekend? And what do you think about narcissism? You know anyone like this? Do you think I’m one, LOL. I hope not.