April 30, 2012

Healthy Narcissism or Pathological Narcissism


Where best to find a cabbage than a cabbage patch? 



It's important to me, that readers understand why my blog is titled The Narcissistic Continuum and not  NPD: The NarcoPath Files. 

I chose The Narcissistic Continuum because it best reflects my understanding of narcissism as a dimensional trait. I got me sum narcissism. You got you sum narcissism. To sum degree, everybody's got sum narcissism in 'um. It might be healthy and it might not be. We may have higher than average narcissism like the celebrity stars Pinsky and Young tested. Or our narcissism might be lower than average and as a result, we don't take very good care of ourselves. Our narcissism could be annoying to others and even to ourselves but not being narcissistic at all is no sign of mental health either. 

Healthy narcissism motivates us to write a blog, believing our lives are worth reading about. Healthy narcissism urges us to post comments, believing our opinions are worth saying. (YouTube opinions excluded from the worthiness continuum---that's super-steroidal-quality-narcissism and you do not want any of that!). 

Healthy narcissism is having enough self-worth to use the capital "I" without fainting. The capital "I" familiarizes us with ourselves. Me, myself and I enhances self-awareness. For those of us who weren't quite sure who we were or what we stood for, the capital "I" is our best friend during recovery. "I think this..." and "I am that..." and "I, I, I." It's important to rustle up enough courage to say "I".

I dare you to write fifteen capital "I"s in one paragraph...without sweating or deleting. 

Healthy narcissism holds us steady when critics are counting our "I"s. And they probably aren't totaling numbers for healthy narcissism either, they're looking for proof of our big fat egos. Little do they know that narcissists, I mean the seriously pathological narcissists, are loath to reveal anything about themselves that other people  could use against them. When you say "I was c-r-u-s-h-e-d when my sister said I talked too much", well, that would be TMI for a pathological narcissist. The pathological narcissist thinks to herself, "I can't let people know what makes me feel bad. Then everyone would attack me."

The pathological narcissist defends him/herself from real relationships which depend on vulnerability and trust. Healthy narcissism means risking intimacy. Risking rejection. Trusting you won't be. Trying again if you are.

Healthy narcissism gets you out of the bed in the morning. Healthy narcissism gets you dressed instead of wearing flannel pajamas to dinner. Wait! Strike that last description. Healthy narcissism means you like yourself even when you're wearing flannel pajamas while fixing beans and weenies for dinner. If you stay in your pajamas longer than a week and don't take a shower, unhealthy narcissism will defend your own stink. If people insist you shower and you get pissed off and tell them they stink worse than you do and they always have but you loved them too much to tell them that and you get really really mad and say nobody's ever gonna tell you what to do especially not some freakin' freeloader so take that and your damn shower and well...that would be pathological narcissism. 

If your spouse doesn't notice you've been wearing the same pajamas for a week, that would be the narcissistic relationship. The worse you look the better they feel so let's eat beans for every meal. J'est kiddin'. Not really. I died my hair blonde once and it took two days for my husbaNd to notice. I pretended it didn't matter but my self-esteem took a nosedive. If you are in love with a pathological narcissist, your self-esteem will take lots of nosedives and pretty soon, you won't bother washing your hair or adding weenies to your beans.

Pathological narcissism: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

On most blogs, people are writing about pathological narcissism: the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Sometimes people email asking why I'm so flippant about narcissism because narcissists are mean and cruel and rotten, hadn't I ever seen a Vaknin video? Why on earth would anyone laugh about narcissism. Am I making light of people's misery? 

No, no...not at all! There's nothing funny about pathological narcissism or malignant narcissism. But to me, there's a helluva whole lotta funny about non-pathological narcissism, the unhealthy kind that makes us act like children and defend our behavior at all costs to reality. I've experienced startling moments of clarity when the moat suddenly lifted from mine eyes and I could clearly see that the problem was me. Not he, thee, or she. So if you've got insight...use it. And count your lucky stars because not everyone recognizes their own head amongst the rising stink of a cabbage patch. 

Are there any signs that someone might be pathological?

Two distinguishing characteristics between normal and pathological narcissism are: 1) the capacity for insight which I mentioned already, and; 2) extreme reactions to criticism and failure, as in hostile, viperous, caustic, aggression with a capital A.

Now the truth is, I don't enjoy failing. Especially in front of witnesses. My self-esteem plummets for three days.  I've got it timed, that's how often it happens. After three days of self-pity, I get back up and start over with a more realistic appraisal of my skills and abilities. A little more humble, a little more grounded, a little less narcissistic. 

That's not what pathological narcissists do. 

Pathological narcissists blame other people for their failures and shoot witnesses. Pathological narcissists smear reputations so nobody believes any version of events other than the narcissist's, of course. What you won't see pathological narcissists do is get back up and say, "I failed and it was nobody's fault but mine." 

So here's to healthy narcissism! May failure be our teacher. Insight become our guide. And if you are still in your pajamas, Here's to ya! (just take a shower once a week, will ya? Is that too much to ask?!)

Hugs,
CZ

31 comments:

  1. Adding weenies to your beans? Laughing so hard I'm crying. Dynamic words to live by... "may failure be our teacher. Insight become our guide."

    Thank you

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    1. Hi Judy!

      As you know, the cabbage patch analogy came from you. You told me a story about cabbages YEARS ago. Evidently, it made a big impression. Let me know if you're still thinking about beans and weenies in five years...ha!!

      It's so lovely to hear from you...you have made such an important difference in my life, Judy. You are a dear friend.

      Love,
      CZ

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  2. I was talking with a friend the other day, a relative whom I don't know that well, and she was saying how every person has some schizophrenia. I had thought about this before, but when she said it, I was immediately reminded of your writings and the continuum of narcissism.

    I've been thinking lately about how I understand mental illness, as well as how to talk about it without marginalizing, stereotyping, stigmatizing, otherizing, etc., and also how to understand it as a human experience.

    When I think of narcissism, I guess, I've thought mostly of a severe level that's destructive.

    Sometimes, lately, I think we could do without psychiatry. I think psychology is helpful. Neurology is too. I am taking this notion day by day, not making any strong decisions yet, because I don't usually 'throw the baby out with the bath water' but regarding severe narcissists, they seem to make their own diagnosis without any help from a profession or manual of diagnoses. (How's that for some healthy narcissism?)

    It's a lot to ponder, and I salute you for your commitment to this subject. It's so important! I may not visit much, or talk about my experience too often anymore, but it's a part of who I am. There are times when I wish I was talking about it. I'm not sure we ever get over it completely. Some people do, but I still remember.

    I'm glad to have made it over and read your post! I tried to post and share your cinema, but couldn't play or embed the video. Like I said, my brain is challenging me these days. Fatigue, stress, and I believe being burned out from doing too much, all makes me tired.

    I hope you are doing well. I've enjoyed very much the movies I've watched. Sometimes I see "Discuss" and other times I don't. Next time I see it, I'll click it and discuss :)

    Hugs to you,
    dogkisses.

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    1. Dear Dogkisses,

      You and I have had a similar experience because we love and support family members who have mental illnesses. We've seen the ugly stigma up close and personal. We know the pain our loved ones deal with when people stare or say preposterous things to them, or they are alienated from family members, friends, even neighbors. My heart break because they haven't done anything to warrant the criticism/rejection.

      Then I show up on my blog and write about rat bazturds and question myself...why does it not bother me to call a narcissist a rat bazturd? Well, one big difference between Ns and schizophrenics or people with Aspergers is 'intentional malice'. The N's selfish desire to get his/her way no matter who is hurt in the process.

      I don't mind being straight-forward and letting my feelings show when writing about pathological narcissists. Besides, they aren't sitting around crying their eyes out because they've been "otherized". They don't care...and if they do, they don't care very much.

      A lot of 'N-ish' people get grouped in with this pathological group of nasty folks and that is unfortunate. Talking about narcissism on a continuum might resolve our tendency to polarize people as either Ns or Not-Ns.

      I'm so excited that you're enjoying the movies on the WoN Cinema: Ns and Ps and Cluster Bs. I started out just posting movies that educated people about "pathological personalities." Then I stumbled on some inspirational movies and decided to expand the theater. Plus, it made it easier to find the films in my free time.

      Now that I'm retired, I watch at least one movie a day. What a luxury! And how cool that my retirement years lined up with technology. Movies on my iPad while laying in bed...who woulda imagined such a future!

      People's lives are so busy that we don't usually "discuss" the movies even if I add a link. It's just so rewarding to hear that you're enjoying the cinema and my selection of films...Thank you. That makes me feel really good. <3

      Love,
      CZ

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  3. Seriously? People get upset at.... (drum role, please) HUMOR? Now look, I realize we loose a bit here in this medium. I realize pathological narcs are no walks in the parks so to speak. My MNmomma was a screamingly sadistic one to boot. But yk, I make all KINDS of jokes about the psychobytch and if your "audience" gets offended by your humor they'd be pelting me with rotten cyber-veggies, demanding "refunds" on their cyber-tickets and otherwise pounding the piss out of their keyboards. (Don't do that-it's YOUR keyboard, remember?!) My humor is far more ribald than yours so THERE! Take THAT, Ms. CZ!
    YES, they are nasty, manipulative, disgusting, low-down forms of pseudo-life. YES, they have hurt others beyond all reason and especially US. YES, they reap havoc, destroy lives, families, their kids, their grandkids (if we're ahhh...uninformed enough to let 'em at the kids after what they did to US), occupations/careers, anyone or anything in their path. That's what they DO: It comes with the "Job Description." And picking up the pieces after is a sloooow, painful journey.
    Franky, there's a true sense of humor I embrace as a part of life in general and Narcs don't get a pass. Neither do my post-strokes, old lady...ahem..."challenges" or my geriatric cat. Yes, I must confess we grapple with various ailments and my cat doesn't get offended when I tell her, "Don't worry when you miss the litter box. I do too occasionally." Or, "We're turning into cliches. Let's make the most of it. Would you like me to put your food through the blender too? Guess I better clean the Margerita 'residue' out first" Or, "Hmm, A Big Day today. We both have doctor appointments. Thank gawd we're both past the shot stage, huh? At least at this time in my life I don't get the thermometer poked up MY ass!" (High-five paw.)
    I truly love your site: It's informative, interesting, provocative and yes, funny. I LIKE funny. I like "Brain Food." And I come here to get it.
    And for those who are some how offended, there's this magic button called "delete." (If you haven't pounded it into oblivion by now.) Better yet, don't bother dropping by in the second place if the first place was not your cup of nice, sweetened ice tea.
    Post on Ms. CZ, Post ON!
    Tundra Woman

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    1. Wow, you are hilarious, Tundra Woman! Remind me not to let you use my bathroom, though. ;-P

      About those critical folks, well, you know how it is when you're fresh into recovery...someone makes 'light' of a terrible situation and it feels personal. Maybe you're the same way but trauma brings out my sense of humor and I mean no disrespect but when a woman needs to laugh at herself, it's only polite for people to laugh with her. ;-)

      Do you have a blog about your narcissistic mother? if you do, post the link.

      I appreciate your support, Tundra...and it tickles me to know you're laughing with me. Laughter saves our sanity and it sounds like you've got a great sense of humor!


      Hugs,
      CZ

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  4. I always love your posts on this blog, CZ,because they are grounded in healthy reality.

    Narcissism is good and normal at a certain time of development...say up to the teens....or so. When it continues on, well, that is where these issues might be entrenched.

    However, anyone who has suffered...and YES, ..suffered a narcissistic mother, finds no humor anywhere in this. It's a constant struggle to dig oneself out of the muck and mire of maternal contempt, disdain and rejection.

    My mother, at 92, just wrote me a letter that sounded normal, chatty cathy, (we haven't spoken since last Mother's Day...traumatic enough) and included a letter she wrote around last Mother's Day 2011...that was a text book case of malignant narcissism....saying 'she should have sent it before.'

    LOL! See, a real narcissist, a sadistic narcissist has no concern for boundaries, decency, doesn't want any real contact, just wants to dominate and manipulate. To have the final word whether anyone is listening or not.

    In this letter she complained that I didn't 'include her in my artistry'.

    Well, Hell's Bells! There wouldn't be any 'artistry' had I not detached from her. Only in the last 6 years have I, and that is when I started to write and become a poet.

    The best thing about blogs for me is this: we have the responsibility and power to 'tell the truth.' That is when we get over our fear of everything else. The truth is uncomfortable, doubted (by ourselves for quite a while), dismissed, shoved to the back of our brains, etc.

    But when we get a grasp of what our lives have been and where we were, and now where we are going...it is quite liberating.

    And yes, Narcissists have no sense of humor. They are afraid that the world will laugh at them, even if it's NOT about them. They are that self-absorbed.

    Continue to write, CZ, and blog. We need this wisdom and we need the leavening spice of humor in a harsh world that surrounds the narcissists. The sun shines for all of us.

    Lady Nyo

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  5. Dear Lady Nyo,

    If narcissism has not improved by later midlife, it's unlikely to improve. A narcissist at 50 will probably die a narcissist. There's a period of time when our narcissism is challenged by "corrective experiences" and we "Give it Up." We lay down our narcissism for the sake of others.

    Sure, we ultimately benefit from a more authentic self but a crucial difference between pathological narcissists and narcissists who can heal, is the value they place on relationships.

    When a mother or any parent-figure refuses to lay down their narcissism (egoism) to 'save' a relationship with their child, that parent is pathological. When a child expresses his/her pain and parents CONTINUE to see themselves as victims, it's fair to say those parents are narcissistic. It varies how narcissistic parents may be though. Perhaps evidence of their pathology is in their invalidating and cruel behavior which is hidden from society. Maybe we could say that "Narcissism" is a public relations occupation? ha!

    From the many blogs I've read by children of narcissistic parents, it takes great courage to speak out. Those of us writing about narcissistic partners, siblings, etc. are less likely to be criticized.

    Writing about narcissistic parents--especially N-MOTHERS, evokes a secondary traumatization by none other than the general public. Just as an aside: the first people to throw stones at the narcissistic mother's children, ARE those who idealize mothers. Mothers are human beings like everyone else---why wouldn't they be subject to the same mental illnesses and disorders as the rest of the population?

    I am sorry to hear that your mother, at 92, is still critical, invalidating, unloving, and MEAN. It boggles the mind that someone could live their entire lifetime and never break through their narcissism! You gotta wonder if there isn't a permanent malfunction in their brains because in general, life tenderizes us as we age. We get "cleaner" not "meaner."


    Hugs,
    CZ

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    1. Well, CZ.....as a pathological narcissist ages, my experience says that they get more entrenched. At least my mother has actually gotten worse. And the sad thing about it, is there is no degenerative disease (so far) to blame this on.

      I think for most of us women who are coming up on Mother's Day...well, we are knotted in the stomach, clenching our teeth...etc.

      And this morning, feeling very much like the above, (and trying to rise above the absolute continued cruelty of my own 'mother'...) I went online to get some clarity on this 'holiday'.

      I came across a marvelous website that 'spoke truth to power'. We should celebrate the GOOD mothers, and not reinforce the BAD ones....by trying to include ourselves in the mass, emotive holiday, when we were abused, neglected and in some cases, severely damaged by our own pathological mothers...well, we are living a lie for societies sake.

      I have a neighbor, actually a woman my age who suffered a mother so extreme...that it is suprising she survived. Her mother at first sounded like the standard narcissistic mother....but then, after she told me her mother tried to kill her (strangulation) twice, and would get her out of bed beating her in the morning with a belt buckle....well, that 'mother' (thankfully dead now) is beyond the pale. Jennie says she 'took her with her'..in other words, she went crazy along with her mother, and the only thing that pulled her 'healthy' was Christ. I am full of admiration for someone who can salvage themselves through anything. Therapy or religion or pastries.

      Asking Jennie about Mother's Day....she said, in her Southern drawl, "Oh, good God, girl! Let's find a kind stranger to celebrate Mother's Day!".

      LOL! I'm buying Mother Day cards for one 99 year old aunt who now calls me daughter, and a bunch of friends who are mothers and for Jennie who never got a chance to be a mother, but is a good mother to cats. I find this kindness rampant, and it doesn't have to be a relative or your own demented mother.

      However, I can't change her wiring...but I still wish I had a mother I could embrace with love.

      Lady Nyo

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    2. I love this idea, Lady Nyo---to stop Playing Pretend. There are so many nurturing and caretaking people (how we usually think of 'mothers'), why not use Mother's Day to honor them?

      How lucky you are to have a loving Aunt who affirms your worth! I was always looking for role models as a young girl and some of my beloved Aunts had a significant impact on my self-esteem. One of those Aunts passed away last summer. She was 100 years old! Interestingly, hundreds of people attended her funeral---she was a much beloved woman in her community.

      When people write about their narcissistic mothers, like Jennie, it literally takes my breath away.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  6. My brothas and sistas of MNparents do a fine job of Blogging regarding various aspects of the NASTY in all it's glory. They receive my FULL and unconditional support. Considering my MN was not successful at hiring a hit man post NC after her unsuccessful efforts to toe tag me by age 3-and YES I AM SERIOUS-she absolutely does not escape my humor regarding her various "Public Personas." Lesss see: In the early years there was "The REAL Housewife of.." Her hair was weekly set, "tinted," teased and sprayed/shellacked into some unnatural form guaranteed to withstand a Cat 4 Hurricane. And of course there was the "Off for the summer Doing Europe" (and other, ahem, "activities.") Then there was the "MOTY (mother-of-the-year) Persona:" This involved feigning interest in kids-any kids-for all of 3 minutes. She had the attention span of a gnat around kids in Public and dressing up the dolls-oops, the kids-and taking them out to show-pony in front of other Parents meant a variety of opportunities to slip away, get the damn prickly, starchy dress off, shuck the white gloves and patent-leather shoes and replace them with real clothes: soft shorts and tops, barefoot in the summer, or beat-up snuggly pants in the winter and some sort of soft old sweater. The "MOTY Persona" took great interest in childhood growth and development, even when there quite apparently wasn't any. I was "gifted" with a "training bra" (a right of passage) before I had any thing to "train." As a result the contraption consistently ended up snapping up around my neck like a sling-shot every time I raised my hand in class with the other Perps, the Catholic School nuns. I was also "gifted" with another contraption called a garter belt and stockings which were reverently lifted from their box in another "bonding activity." I was perfectly happy with knee socks in 5th grade but that wouldn't "do" for Easter Sunday Mass. When I knelt at the rail to receive communion I had the first of many "Wardrobe Malfunctions" when I stood up and the stockings plunged to my knees, then my ankles. Manners, Ladies and Gents, were IMPERATIVE in keeping with the "MOTY Persona." Consequently, I was stuffed into various forms of torture called those gawd awful scratchy dresses/crinolines and drug off to such illustrious eating establishments as The Tavern On The Green where I promptly pursed the menu and politely asked the waiter, "May I please have a jelly sandwich?" Considering it was waaay past the hour any child should have been in bed it required tremendous effort to not fall face-down in my Shirley Temple while all the adults continued to chatter, laugh gaily and order another round. Please bear in mind this WAS the days of "Mad Men" when it wasn't a television program. Now, there are OTHER "Public Personas" which I would be more than happy to share in upcoming installments if anyone would like. (Hint/cliffhanger: later, "The Bag Lady Persona.")My point is this: "The Public Personas" are another aspect of growing up with a sadistic MNpsychobytch.The private hell was indescribable. Yes, we ALL suffered unspeakable abuse. I have NEVER, EVER used any aspect of abuse as a source of humor. Abuse, which is a horrifying and inherent given growing up with these "parents" is NEVER funny, acceptable or a source of humor. The Legacy of such remains with any Adult Child; I have no doubt there are aspects of this which will remain with me until my death. I have always and will continue to support my brothas and sistas until my keyboard quits, my hard-drive crashes and/or my old lady butt is roasted and toasted post my cadaver doner status. And gawd help the Medical Student who ends up with mine-they'll be asking for a refund secondary to all the organs that are missing. In the meanwhile, my heart remains with us, the survivors.
    Tundra Woman

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    1. I love this!! and yes, my training bra (what was it supposed to be training boobs for???) snapped up around my neck too.

      I gobbled up and understood every word, every situation in this comment.

      Brava, and I am so sorry for your own pain.

      Lady Nyo...no, this 'kind' of humor is never humorous to us that have lived through these circumstances.

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    2. However DID I MISS this reply, TW!! OH my Holy crackers on a horse's ass!

      This oughta be featured on a separate post if you don't mind. Lemme find your email addy.

      Hugs
      CZ

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  7. I love the concept of healthy narcissism, but hate the actual term. I think what many mental health experts call healthy narcissism is simply self-esteem. So I prefer using that term. I think calling any form of narcissism healthy is very misleading, and there is a danger in giving the word any type of positive interpretation. It invites people to use slippery slopes and rationalize away their dysfunctions better, tactics narcissists already use and need no help from us in. But even worse, using such a term can be damaging to co-dependents, who already have a tendency to put a positive spin on narcissist's behavior. Now to give them the idea that some forms of narcissism are positive will only help them rationalize away bad behavior even more.

    I prefer to just say, if it's bad it's narcissism and if it's healthy, it's not narcissism at all, but rather it's self-esteem.

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    1. Self-esteem and narcissism are not the same thing, though common understanding equates them as the same.

      I'd like to devote an entire post to this topic and will put my head to the task. In the interim, this is a quick reply:

      Narcissism is a developmental state through which self-esteem is regulated. This means that normal narcissism is based on a stable ego. Self-regard and other-regard are held in balance. Normal narcissism means self-esteem is reflective of reality.

      Pathological narcissism is based on a fragmented, vulnerable ego. Self-esteem is inflated (not reflective of "reality"); and is excessively reliant on external sources.

      Normal narcissism (healthy ego development and object relations) regulates self-esteem without inflating self-esteem to compensate for faulty ego development.

      I like the concept of Healthy Narcissism and the 'narcissistic continuum' because it allows us to examine ourselves without equating narcissistic traits with pathology. Especially today when it's seductive to focus on ourselves WITH public approval and without restriction!

      To say that if its bad, its narcissism and if its healthy, its self-esteem is a bit reductive and technically incorrect. It is much easier however, to view narcissism as categorically 'bad' instead of a more complex view of narcissism as a dimensional construct.

      My intuitive sense is that we're more accurate viewing narcissism on a continuum from healthy to unhealthy than viewing it as a good or bad polarity.

      If someone has a stable sense of self, good relationships with people, emotional stability, then their self-esteem will likely be pretty good. It may not be though...people with low self-esteem may not be "unhealthily narcissistic" at all. They just have low self-esteem that might be situational.

      If anyone has links to professional articles about the distinctions between self-esteem and narcissism, I would appreciate your links!

      I do not pretend to be a psychologist but narcissism has become an obsession of sorts. (As if you didn't know that already!) ha!


      Hugs,
      CZ

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    2. I heard that Alice Miller's original title for her classic "Drama of the Gifted Child" was "The Narcissistic Child." Imagine how different our perception of narcissism would be today if that had been the book's title.

      Point being, I think your description of narcissism, and your choice of "continuum" is exactly right on the money. We do tend to use the N word mostly in a pejorative context, but the truth is the truth: we are all narcissistic to some degree, so we can give up the idea that we're not, and more importantly, that we "shouldn't" be. I think understanding that narcissism is a continuum is a path into better understanding of self itself. The result is win-win for all concerned.

      I love your site, and your in-site, CZ. Take care and please keep on writin'!

      Kitty

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    3. Thank you, Kitty! I wish I could stop writing. Then I might get my draperies sewn and my books organized.

      If Miller's book had been titled, "Drama of the Narcissistic Child", it may have established a continuum for narcissism that wasn't 'clinical'. But it may also have been re-victimizing, sticking people with the dreaded N-label. Who knows?

      I read it and I was grateful to see myself as 'gifted' for having realized there was something wrong with the way I was thinking, feeling, behaving. It's a miracle when we wake up one day and say, "Damn. This ain't right."

      There's an article by Alan Rappoport that you may be interested in reading:

      Co-Narcissism: How We Accommodate to Narcissistic Parents
      http://www.alanrappoport.com/pdf/Co-Narcissism%20Article.pdf

      When we first discussed this article on our forum, people were upset by the idea. They balked at being called co-narcissists because narcissism had been equated with psychopathy. I even had a polarized view because that is how narcissism was introduced to me.

      It didn't take long studying NPD to recognize myself in some of the traits. It still didn't terrify me more than thinking "I MIGHT" be hurting other people because of my narcissism.

      This is key---a key distinction between pathological narcissists and regular everyday narcissists: we care about hurting other people AND we generally live by the golden rule. AND, most telling of all: we think everybody else does, too. haha!

      Thank you for stopping by. It really is lovely to hear from you!

      CZ

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  8. hello
    i dont know how to say this..but this article has made me think for hours now.

    Ive lead a pretty comfortable life, been a good student , growing up i didnt have many close friends, but i had friends not that i feel isolated or loner.

    When my grandma died last year, i didnt feel any emotion or i felt lack of grief, like i thought it seemed fitting she died at 86, and thats howd she want it a peaceful death.
    Im also a functioning cannabis smoker. For me cannabis is the only outlet in the day when i dont think, and i can just relax..i would say it has been negative at times financially, but its my choice drug now till i get more responsibilities.
    The last girl i was in relationship, we had our reasons for breaking up, mainly location, but before she left one day when we were smoking up , she said that i dont open up at all and she thinks that i never valued her, that i only wanted her physically. By the way, I still have deep feelings for this girl, i just never expressed it, but I let her move on, and tried myself as it seemed for the best but i still tink about it at times.
    I feel she is hurt over this, and i know that, but we have both got kinda weird personalities, like we never ever had an serious arguement which is so weird, and i just felt at ease alone with her, it was almost to good to be true. Maybe i should have expressed this to her, but i wasnt thinking about all what im writng at that time, i only realized later after a random hookup.
    Also my mother was diagnosed as schizophrenic when i was 4 , she has had episodes around me before, she has abused my verbally , physically during these episodes but i know she loves me its just the disorder. But everytime these happened at the time i was in teens, i had noone to talk to about this, i would withdraw and not show emotions or bring up my problems to anybody.
    I feel like im a narcisstic person, i do manipulate people but not to an extent that causes them to suffer or distress.
    What do you think i need to do to be normal like everyone else?..i feel i need a healthy relationship where i can open up about everything.
    I may not be classified or termed as narcisstic, but im pretty sure have narcisstic like tendencies which are not major now. I want to correct this in myself gradually, an tips would be helpful!!
    ps..i dont think people know how i trully am and feel (Im not evil)..its just that i listen more than i speak i guess..ive never even opened up to my close friends:(..

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    1. Hi ClosetN,

      Sorry to be so late responding. I hope you're still around.

      Listen, if you feel this information identifies some of the problems you're experiencing, then by all means: talk to a professional counselor who can point you in the right direction. There's nothing shameful about talking with psychologists who are trained to help us work through behaviors, thoughts and feelings that interfere with our lives, preventing us from having healthy relationships with other people AND with ourselves.

      I think most people are dealing with unhealthy narcissism, to some degree. Our culture almost demands self-preoccupation and self-promotion. Finding the right balance between our needs and other people's needs isn't easy. If we get stuck because we had a difficult childhood, therapy can help. So can other programs such as 12-step or self-help literature.

      p.s. I don't think narcissists are evil. People use that word when they're upset or hurting. It's hard not to take it personally though when someone's accusing you of being evil. But consider it hyperbole (which it is in most cases. Not all but most).

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  9. you are my new best friend ! the narcissist i love knows he has demons but is so enmeshed in his programming that he does not have the will, energy, or skills to battle them. i am so very sad for him. on the other hand, reading another fantastic resource site, i just learned that i could easily be suffering from stockholme syndrome and that there are rampant peptides partying in my brain making me crazy, i am not on board with this one bit. i really appreciate your perspective on healthy narcissism. i really think i need a dose !! (that's only 8 'i's, i'll have to work on it.... 9)

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    1. Hello Coyotegals,

      I've been under-the-weather, so please accept my apology for not responding earlier. If you have questions about any of my posts (some of them are a few years old now), feel free to post a comment.

      I can't help you with the peptide theory. This only recently came to my attention. But I'm not a proponent of the "law of attraction" as i take a more 'cognitive approach' to understanding NPD. I tend to lean towards the sciences because I'm a natural born skywalker. I need grounding and psychological theory does that for me. ha!

      Let me know how your healing progresses. I always love hearing about people and their unique ways to help themselves learn, heal and grow.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  10. Hi CZ,

    This is a great post! I enjoyed reading this. I am thinking and will continue about the differences and the range of narcissism. I am eager to read more on the continuum. xxoo TR

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    1. Thanks for being here, TR! I have much to learn about the narcissistic continuum but to me, it makes sense. It's a non-pejorative way to examine narcissism as a dimensional trait. I don't know what might happen to the clinical NPD diagnosis, but it'll be interesting to see how everything shakes out over the next few years!

      xxooback CZ

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    2. This has helped me view a few of my relationships a lot differently. It helps to find a way in how to deal with people and how I've been approaching difficult situations with my family members. xxoo

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  11. I love the "Narcicism Continuum" cuz sometimes you need to be selfish and a Narc to fix yourself. It's only BAD when you use it to hurt your friends, or their minds or concept of reality. My X friend NEEDED my life/attention/blind devotion till, one september day she walked away and faded out our chats till nothing. WHEN i really needed her. Narc in an unhealthy way, STILL trying to figure out how she used my mind against me, she used my insecurities against me and my need for a friend to hurt me. I'm still recovering and recentering myself,

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    1. Hi Anonymous! Isn't it mind-bloggling that we can give support to someone for months (or years) and then we need support, they BAIL. They leave! They end the relationship! To top THAT off, as if it weren't enough of an insult, they BLAME us (if they even talk to us again).

      When someone is able to end an attachment that easily, without warning especially, you are not dealing with a normal person. It's typical of narcissistic disorders to lack the essential bonding abilities keeping people together. I'm sorry your relationship ended this way. It's so hard to come to peace with because it doesn't make sense and we can't believe it happened and we wonder what "we" did wrong. Well, maybe nothing.

      Best wishes for your recovery,
      CZ

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  12. Healthy narcicism is Life As Act Of Defiance after a shitty week month year life. Remembering how many people devalued you, you have innate value and reasons to stay alive. TOXIC narcing is taking someone's identity, power, sense of reality and inner strength, choice, life, cuz it ANNOYS you or gets in the way or they are too threatening to you in all their innate powerful humanity. I've met people in my life who literally steal me away from myself, and others who push me to become better then myself and are not bothered by my unorthadox choices in life.

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    1. It's good advice to choose friends that make you a better person because they are your friends! Being able to hold our heads up and respect ourselves is no easy task in a world that constantly judges, constantly compares, constantly invalidates one another. How lovely you've found friends who accept you and challenge you!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  13. I like this blog and was searching for something similar for some time, because the concept can arise where "everyone is a narcissist" and one finds oneself walking on eggshells amongst everyone. I spoke with a nurse some time ago who was obviously very judgmental about everyone - so and so was a this, someone else was a that, and this particular art gallery owner was a narcissist. I said, um, how so, do they have nude pictures of themselves on the walls? (I was a little done with her complaining at the time and after I said that I never heard from her again. This wad a case, I think, where the person labelling the narcissist was actually the narcissist!!
    I do a lot of work in entertainment and love to sing and joke on stage and show off, but in doing so I aim to have everyone else enjoy themselves as much as I am - you're having a nice time. I could care less about being called a narcissist, because as far as I'm concerned I'm contributing something positive, plus I don't infringe on people's lives. Now my mother, on the other hand, is always plotting and scheming, but it has gotten her absolutely nowhere but to bring condemned to do the same thing over and over, like the serpent eating its own tail. The way I see it we are all here to learn and if we can channel our inner narcissist into a positive end result that is something, but a lot don't because they don't take time to get to know themselves. I think this is the fundamental problem, since Nism seems to be so widespread.

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  14. My old N buddy didn't notice, not ONCE, that I was, hurting myself, causing unneeded drama in my own life. I was SUFFERING, on multitudes of levels, and she hardly noticed, and I was suffering needlessly for YEARS. It wasn't oversight, it was apathy. Bad times, but now I got a bunch of songs out of it. My pain is a platinum stack!

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    1. Hi anonymous! I'm assuming you're the author of both comments? (Sorry to have missed your first comment). Congrats to you for turning a painful experience into something that touched other people's lives. You transformed your pain into art and that is what people-in-the-recovery-biz call "Thriving."

      Narcissists may never notice the impact their behaviors have on others but they take close notice of the impact others have on them. A lot of people have said after a twenty and thirty-year relationship: "S/he doesn't have any idea who I am!"

      As much as people think narcissists are intentionally manipulative and heartlessly Machiavellian, the majority of narcissists are too self-preoccupied to recognize any one else's pain other than their own...all the ways the world has failed to respect their uniqueness.

      As you know since you're reading my blog, narcissism is on a continuum. Not all narcissism is a bad thing. Just because someone enjoys entertaining, being on stage, and getting attention, that does not mean they're narcissists. Well, maybe they are higher on the NPI (check my posts on the NPI), but the kind of narcissism that should be most concerning is destructive or pathological narcissism, which includes:

      inability to tolerate criticism or rejection
      difficulty/inability to "bond" healthily
      difficult/inability to sustain relationships
      feelings of emptiness (including depression and suicide)
      additions all sorts
      lack of impulse control

      As you mentioned in your first comment, the term "narcissist" is being applied to practically everyone which waters down the meaning. Generalizing makes it more difficult to recognize distinctions between celebrity narcissism for example, and pathological narcissism. I think that once we have an idea of what narcissism looks like, we can discern the crucial distinction between normal and pathological.

      Right now, people are diagnosing anyone with a blog as being narcissistic and I suppose in a "normal" definition, that's true. It takes some kind of courage to put yourself out there, subject to judgment and criticism. Healthy narcissism allows us to "be seen". Healthy narcissism allows us to "be criticized" without falling apart or deleting our blog. I suppose it's the same in the music industry. The people with unhealthy narcissism cannot sustain rejection and criticism. Which is inevitable if we are "seen."

      How amazing it is that people find ways to transform their pain into something beautiful and meaningful. That you were able to write music reflects your emotional depth and creativity. I love hearing from people like you...

      Hugs,
      CZ

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