June 29, 2014

Please Stop Calling People Narcissists! Especially ME please...

"Examination of a Blogger" (jest kiddin')


Please stop calling people narcissists because you're insulted or because you don't like them or they don't like you. Please stop calling people narcissists because their criticism makes you crazy like a pepper mill. Please stop setting up tribunals to condemn the minutest flaw in someone's character. "See that spot on her back? It's the toxic mark of Satan! Run Run! She's unsafe for human company!" A little reminder: when a witch hunt is being organized, your silence is an act of complicity; and, your enthusiastic participation may get your name dropped from my Christmas list. Just in case readers wonder how deep my niceness really goes, I don't exchange gifts with people who send emails like these:
"I know I am not the first to point out these things, so I pray you are not a narcissist CZ (although I believe you are and God agrees with me)."  
Please stop calling people narcissists because you trust your gut feelings beyond every attempt to reason with you; beyond facts; beyond rationality. 
"It walked like a duck. It talked like a duck. I called it a duck and you're a duck! I sensed the truth in my gut and sure enough, you quacked!" 
Please stop calling people narcissists because you had gawd-awful parents.
"You remind me of my mother! This is no projection, it is a matter of fact! My mother made herself the center of all communication. Woweee, what a powerful position you are in!"
Please stop calling people narcissists because they read your story-without-paragraph-breaks-and-in-all-caps, offering a story to comfort and end your isolation.
"I counted the "I's" in your reply and it proves you are a wolf in sheep's clothing! Even if you fool other people. You. Don't. Fool. ME!"
Please stop calling group leaders narcissists because you didn't get your way.
"Have you ever allowed the thought that you are using people? You make the final decisions. You decide who's right and wrong. Do whatever you want from here-on-out without MY contributions. You are the ruler after all."
Just please stop calling people narcissists when you haven't cared enough to get to know them. Your disinterest in their life undermines the validity of your diagnosis. And:

Please stop calling people narcissists to hurt them. Or because you disagree with them. Or because calling people names makes you feel better. Please stop calling people narcissists when the only hostile person is yourself.

Please stop calling people narcissists to prove you aren't. But most of all, please stop calling people narcissists to trash them.


Stigmatizing Narcissism

I've encouraged people to learn about narcissistic traits. I have argued that narcissism is not an accusation; it's a description allowing us to understand the human personality, to better manage our reactions to narcissistic personalities. I have pushed people to open their minds to psychological explanations rather than using pejoratives like lazy, stupid, crazy, evil and worthless. In my view, NPD is less stigmatizing than calling someone evil because we don't understand ego defenses and clamor for exorcisms, even in 2014. I have lobbied for access to psychological information, reducing the inevitable harm of human ignorance in the belief education would lead to healthier lives. I think all these things are happening to the majority of people affected by someone with a narcissistic personality. However, as is always the case when discussing mental health, people stigmatize "narcissist" as if it were ammunition for their verbal abuse arsenal. They use "narcissist" like a bullet aimed at the hearts of their perceived critics, never recognizing their outrageous hostility is the reddest flag in the room.

When there's a disagreement online, instead of discussing and resolving issues, all someone has to do is point their finger and say, "She's a narcissist!" Surely, I'm not the only person to have received emails from concerned readers who have been told via private emails and chat rooms, that I am a narcissist. Surely some of you have dealt with this allegation by people who want to destroy your reputation. You tick them off for some GodOnlyKnowsWhy reason, and instead of giving you the benefit of the doubt or even trying to work things out, they decide you're a narcissist.

This story took place about a decade ago.  I had been corresponding with a woman who was suffering ptsd, spending a great deal of time writing to her. One of our mutual online acquaintances told her she should not trust me because people-in-the-know had determined me to be a psychopath. She cut off contact immediately. She considered moving because she'd given me her address. All the accuser  had to do was send an email creating doubt in people's minds. Defending myself by stating, "I am NOT a narcissist" seemed ridiculous because that's the first thing a narcissist would do only more convincingly. I considered uploading a certificate of mental health to my website but realized people would accuse me of ordering it from a diploma mill. ha! My only option, or so it seemed, was learning to live with the rumors, responding kindly when people inquired about my mental health. "How come you were so mean to so-and-so?" they'd ask. And I'd write back, "Why do you believe everything you read?" And they'd say, "Are you calling me gullible?" And I'd reply, "Kinda." And they'd say, "I will never read your blog or join your forum because I go NO CONTACT with NARCISSISTS!" And then I'd consider posting the entire chain of emails so people could see how inane and ridiculous people can be and then the next day, I'd come to my senses and do nothing. Doing nothing seems to be the only way to stop accusations from getting worse. So far, at least to my knowledge, no one has ever accused me of being a serial killer. But hey, there's always tomorrow!

Cyberbullying?

Getting revenge for perceived insults and/or criticism by calling someone "a narcissist" could be considered a form of cyberbullying, I think. If the intent is to harm, intimidate and threaten an individual's reputation, it is cyberbulling even if the receiver isn't personally offended by the accusation. Being told I'm a narcissist is not upsetting to me because first of all, I don't meet five of nine criteria in the DSM and my Narcissistic Personality Inventory score is below the national average for Americans. But even if it IS grandiose for me to blog about narcissism, there are two key factors preventing me from being dangerous: my EE quotient. Exploitative and Entitled I am not. So you are safe, dear readers...you may find my long essays tedious but I won't charge you to read them. And I don't expect you to read them, either. Entitlement is something I need more of, not less.

And the other thing I realized when ruminating on being called "a narcissist" is that not everyone has tolerance for name-calling. Some good-hearted folks leave the Internet completely. This kind of poop happens all the time online. For example: if we're the type of person who listens and supports people, our good deeds will be undermined with accusations of covert narcissism. If we're smart, we're called cerebral narcissists. If we're good-lookin', surely we're somatic. If we sell products on our blogs, we're grandiose narcissists and if we don't, we're closet narcissists. Here is the thing, though. People have always used labels to diminish the sting, value and caliber of other people whose lives and opinions differed from their own. In more religious times, people accused one another of being evil. In the workplace, co-worker's achievements are reduced to that of brown nosers. People with academic accomplishments are alleged to be cheaters. There's always a way to make ourselves feel better about someone else's success. In our therapeutic society, "You're a Narcissist!" is how we maintain our status by diminishing others.

Why It's soooo DUMB To Call Me A Narcissist

I live a complex life requiring social and emotional intelligence, equanimity and empathy 24/7. It's ludicrous to call me "a narcissist." If I can be called "a narcissist" by people familiar with NPD, then we have not done a very good job educating people about the definition of narcissism. I figure if anyone can talk about this subject, it's a woman who is all about community, all about serving others, all about laying claim to her personal flaws and weaknesses of which there are many but not enough to satisfy DSM criteria. And I also trust that anyone who knows me will not be persuaded by allegations that I'm a wolf in sheep's clothing, so I'm not afraid to talk about this topic. Other people might not be as immune to name-calling and I hope to speak for all the people writing about narcissistic relationships and being subjected to anonymous accusations. Since I'm obviously not a narcissist, what does it mean when someone accuses me of being "a narcissist?" 
1-they have a superficial understanding of narcissism
2-they want to level the relationship by reducing my authority
3-they're projecting; seeing their narcissism in me
4-they WANT to hurt me, to bully and intimidate me
5-they are highly defensive--protecting their ego
6-they are verbally abusive, using narcissism as a N-word
7-they're splitting (ego defense): "I'm not a narcissist, you are!"
8-they want to strip my dignity and integrity
9-they want to justify hostility without questioning or examining themselves
10-they want the last word, a parting shot before leaving. Bang. You're Out. 



We've all done it. Sort of. 

At first, I assumed "You're a Narcissist!" was reserved for message boards because anxiety and uncertainty are naturally elevated when reading people's stories. And it's easy to impute criticism in someone's reply when you've been hurt, when you're suffering. In healing communities, there has to be allowance for our "temporary insanity" and every group relies on good will to keep people communicating freely. What I'm saying is that no one escapes being batshitcrazy AT LEAST once or twice under pressure, even more so during crises. After lashing out at someone who in retrospect didn't deserve the brunt of our anger, most people admit to being wrong and apologize. Profusely. This Is Growth. This Is Healing. Remorse is humbling if our egos are strong enough to bear the shame of our imperfection and admit we can be jerks. We can also be angels, don't forget. A full-and-rich life means committing ourselves to growing more feathers than defenses by the time St. Peter takes full measure of our lives.

Why People "Lash Out"

Sudden online aggression out of context to the situation may suggest our inner six-year-old's been typing on the keyboard without any adult supervision. Her rude comments are undeniable when the insults are attached to our screen name. YIKES. Usually after a good night's rest, our adult senses are restored and we can take responsibility for lashing out. We Step Up. (denial isn't completely out of the realm of possibilities though because truth can always be perverted to protect a fragile ego). Recovery entails plenty of "I'm sorry's!" and even more "I understand's!" and a healthy enough self to bear the brunt of our thoughtless crimes. If you are guilty of calling people narcissists because they didn't agree with your point of view, now would be a good time to stop that nonsense and get on with some serious healing.

I think people idealize healing for the most part, not comprehending the fears that must be faced, the losses that must be accepted, the devastating grief of the unloved child, the rejected lover, the discarded spouse. Healing our narcissistic injuries may overwhelm the faint of heart, the idealistic, the fragile; and I want people to know that even after being told off many times, I sympathize with my critics. Please don't hear me saying I LURVE my critics, or forgive their ongoing efforts to discredit me, but I understand why they do what they do. The ghost of the unloved child hovers close to the adult like a greedy specter, too jaded to trust, too tough to be a sucker; always looking for a motive, always looking for the betrayal that's sure to come. Ever-poised to lash out if people get too close. It appears the worst thing people can think of to keep their defenses in tact and others at bay is, "You're a Narcissist."

Some accusers defend themselves from shame by projecting their painful feelings. Recipients unwittingly react to their allegations as if there's validity to their claims. There isn't. The truth is that some people have an extremely vulnerable self and any perceived criticism--no matter how slight or unintended--will trigger their hostility, what psychologists describe as narcissistic rage. Once their wrath has been externalized, their deepest suspicions about themselves are secreted from self-awareness through primitive ego defenses. Now this view might lead readers to believe I'm tit for tatting. In other words, someone calls me a narcissist and I outmaneuver them with psychological explanations about their narcissism. However, people don't always call someone a narcissist because they're unconsciously protecting a fragile ego. Sometimes they do it on purpose.  


Stigmatizing Mental Illness & Mental Disorders

Calling someone "a narcissist" is intended to demean that person's relevance but only if "You're a narcissist!" is considered to be an insult. My goal is and has always been understanding, not demonizing people with labels. People who stigmatize mental illness may have higher degrees of narcissistic traits than the people they accuse of being narcissists. (Arikan) That seems a reasonable explanation to me, having put my best efforts into negotiating a truce after people called me "a narcissist". Having narcissistic traits doesn't imply mutual good will, nor do narcissistic traits suggest self-awareness and accountability which is why people like myself refrain from confronting people who call us narcissists. We ignore their hostility because we're cautious about escalating the drama, the ante being upped to unfathomable proportions and I'm sure most bloggers have horrifying examples they'd rather not remember. As a result of our experiences with people who were unwilling to examine themselves or check their aggression, hostile people get away with bullying.

Name-calling proliferates on the web because we can't defend ourselves from anonymous critics. There aren't any brakes on aggression if someone believes we disrespected them. If we write anything even remotely offensive or critical, they attack no holds barred. (For as callous as these folks are to someone else's pain, they are exquisitely sensitive to the mere tone of criticism towards themselves.)

When disagreements occur as they always will in every relationship, our attempts to reconcile will be twisted into distortions of truth, re-written history, blatant lies. It's like digging your own grave, trying to explain what you meant when someone was looking for insult, reading between the lines of your apology to find what they needed to fuel their anger. We eventually stop justifying, arguing, defending and explaining ourselves because it is a waste of time that only amplifies their hostility. What's the point? We realize that person cannot hear us because s/he is consumed with an archaic rage that has nothing to do with us or present time. We know someone is battling old demons when their reactions are out of proportion to the situation at hand. And that is why the most frequent advice is doing nothing. But it gets old, doing nothing.

A recent email calling me a narcissist was simply the last straw and I thought this subject could use a good discussion, a good airing. Has anyone called you a narcissist because you blog about  narcissism? And if so, what did you do? Successes and failures welcomed!

Hugs all,
CZ


Resources

*The first painting is actually titled, Examination of a Witch by Thompkins H. Matteson, 1833

Arikan, Kemal. 2005  "A Stigmatizing Attitude Towards Psychiatric Illnesses is Associated with Narcissistic Personality Traits". Israel Journal of Psychiatry & Related Sciences Vol 42 No. 4 (248-250)

Davey, Graham. 2013  "Mental Health and Stigma." PsychologyToday

Seltzer, Leon. 2011  "The Narcissist's Dilemma. They can Dish It Out But..." PsychologyToday





37 comments:

  1. Well I would be so completely honored to be the first to say Yay! What a great post, CZ! Because nobody writing these blogs about narcissism has been doing it as long, and as generously, as you have. Between this blog, and the Won Forum you founded and run, you have been providing an airing ground for people suffering from the bad treatment of others. I don't know of another blog that is as deep, rich and well-researched as this one is, or as balanced and fair-minded. I can and will WITNESS this. I know nobody knows me from Adam, but I aint afraid to say I'm qualified to assess the body of work you've put together, and you are the real thing: a woman who began with a drive to understand her own pain at the shattering of her marriage at the hands of a narcissist, who went on to connect every other dot in her life, and along the way decided to make herself available to other seekers as well. Your blog was a lifeline for me when I started reading about the topics of ACoNs; I was naive at first about bloggers but soon figured out who the manipulators were, and kaboom, got called a Narc at best and an Evil C#$* at worst, by some pretty stupid and reactive people who never took any responsibility for their own terrible behavior. Whoever wrote you this ridiculous email doesn't know you AT ALL; hasn't read the large body of your work (which has a narrative voice and thread that is level-headed always, and fair-minded, even when angry about something). You are simultaneously extremely well-informed on the topic but always open to learning from others. You do this without ever posturing as anyone's guru. In fact, I know that praise makes you uncomfortable (even though you like it, as you should because you deserve it) and you chronically downplay the accomplishment of your archive here. You have performed a public service, you have helped me (and I aint nobody's sheep, that's for sure). I'm happy to see you permit yourself to write this column airing some of how it feels to be so mis-taken by someone. You've put up with far more of it privately. But I can testify to the craziness of some people out there, who WILL NOT see what they're doing when they paint you as something you're not. CZBZ is brave, forthright, giving, generous, kind, responsive. She also has boundaries, knows how to set them (although she usually allows people a great deal of leeway). I have gotten to know her over these last two years through blogging, and she was first to publicly defend me against some idiot bullies, and to privately support me through that. Because the truth is, even when people you don't know, who are anonymous to you, attack you beyond all reasoning or comprehension, it still is always a shock. Especially when you're trying to do something constructive and get told you are a manipulative narc (as an insult). We write about the phenomenology of a personality/character disorder that borders mental illness and sheer malevolence. Mostly, though, narcissism is about a tragedy of arrested development, of emotional cripples who feel so fragile that they turn themselves into petty, or giant, tyrants. People who are so thoughtless they walk all over others w/o any concern for their feelings, needs, thoughts, ideas. People who don't care about the consequences of their behavior toward you.

    This is so far removed from CZBZ that it would be laughable, if it weren't so sad. I've been blogging for nearly two years now, and have learned vastly from CZBZ, both in terms of content, and ethics, of blogging. I am not a member of WoN, but I regularly read over there, and that forum is not "all about her." It's all about the people who go there for help and company. I love you, CZBZ, for the solace, kindness, wit, bravery, and other good things you've brought to my life. CS

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    1. Hi CS! I am so completely honored that you posted and said such WoNderful things about me that I've printed out your comment and framed it. It will sit right next to "Flames and Insults," my collection of reader's comments in case I get too big for my britches. ;-P

      You really love my blog, don't you and that makes me feel so great! That I was able to support your "initiation to the blogosphere" was deeply gratifying because I know how isolating it is when people won't step up. When people hang back because they don't want to get involved. When people watch while someone is tearing you apart bit-by-bit and bystander anger is escalating to a mobbing. I had a few friends who stood by me during a cyber-mobbing and that is why I am so grateful to be able to "give back" to you. That you were willing to let me help is also deeply satisfying. <3

      When my marriage ended, a therapist suggested restoring meaning in my life by doing something purposeful, something that would pull me out of my sorrowful self and focus on something greater. Like helping other people. It's not like I expected people to roll out the red carpet and sing "Hosannah's" to my name; but I really did not expect people to hate me. ha!! I may be cavalier about people calling me a narcissist now, but I can promise you that it was awful in the beginning. I tried to stop reading the stuff people were writing but it was like knowing there was a big chocolate cake in the pantry. The more you tried to forget it was there, the more you thought about it. Eventually, the cake won and then you were sick because you couldn't stop with one comment and ended up reading all of them and then you couldn't drag your butt out of bed the next day because your ego was completely deflated. My husband hated me. His girlfriend hated me. And now the entire cyberworld hated me, too. haha...For the life of me, I don't know why I kept writing but I don't know for the life of me why I married that rat bazturd either. So there ya go.

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    2. See, and I keep telling ya to get the bigger britches (metaphorically) because you've earned them, the hard and long way. :-)

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    3. My daughter read your comment and was pleased with your description because she says you captured my personality. She appreciated this comment: "I'm happy to see you permit yourself to write this column airing some of how it feels to be so mis-taken by someone." ~CS

      That insight had flown right over her head when I told her what I was writing about last week. She didn't grasp the significance of a post that's been a long time coming. I haven't written about the awful things that have happened in cyberspace because: 1) I felt it was my fault; that I mishandled the situation and "should have" done better; 2) it was shaming being criticized in public, in writing; 3) I feared escalating the situation.

      I'm not sure where the line is between "silencing" to prevent escalation (triangulating readers); and "a silencing" that feeds the beast. In one circumstance, my refusal to engage only gave legitimacy to a woman's rant because it was not countered by me with facts. I decided it was better being called "a narcissist" and letting her have the last word than emailing a woman in a narcissistic rage.

      I had suggested very kindly that she create her own forum since WoN is non-denomination and suddenly--I was the spawn of Satan. This sudden "switch" took place quickly: One day I was the best forum manager EVER and the next day I a narcissist. What was really interesting about is that she believes "I" am the one who switched overnight!! It's "MY" switch that worried her about my mental health. I don't think she even realized she had idealized me until the moment she felt criticized and then she devalued me. This Is an Unconscious Process Called Splitting and it is a primitive ego defense often employed by narcissistic people.

      Her rant is obviously deranged although I've been surprised at the number of people who have written to me after reading her accusations. That says something about people's state of mind when they first learn about narcissism, too. They don't know how to discern, how to think critically when reading evocative material that sounds "sincere."

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    4. CZ and daughter K, makes me so happy that my brief off the cuff description 'captured your personality.' This was part of my point: that throughout all your posts--and by now I've read at least two-thirds of your archive--there IS a personality, which makes it possible to discern what kind of person you are. Early on I heard equanimity: staying level-headed no matter the emotional storm, and trying to see multiple perspectives simultaneously. Making that latter a value. But then, finally one has to come down somewhere, after that process, and you do and have. That last is called thoughtful principle. You are a person of thoughtful and thought-through principle. Narcissists are utterly lacking in this quality. It's a habit of mind and heart. It's obvious in your writing, but it emerges through many of your posts. But I know this one has been long in coming. That you hate to 'escalate' because people come out of the woodwork to dump. Sometimes though ya gots to just say it, and you did that, but not as a rant! You got your ya-ya out while also educating! This is key to who you are. The equanimity never goes away. ps if you need bigger britches, you can have the ones I used to wear before I started working on reducing my own narcissistic reactivity. :-) I've gone down a whole size, hopefully. love to you, and your daughter.

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  2. Thanks for posting this, CZ. I appreciate how much information you willingly share. I admit I've not been accused of being narcissistic... I think. I don't care enough to notice. When I first started my blog, a few years ago, I was hurt by a comment made for about 10 seconds and then I laughed. Anyone who visits my blog goes to Home first, where I explain that if they don't agree with me nothing is keeping them on my blog. They can go elsewhere. The commenter even quoted from it, and decided to tell me I needed to change. Ummm... yeah, I know. I'm working on it. That's what the blog is about: Me changing. What part did they miss about that?

    A couple of things have baffled me in the blogging sphere. No one forces anyone to read a blog, unless the person is in a really sick relationship, which has absolutely nothing to do with the blogger. The blogger cannot force anyone to read or comment. It's a choice.

    If I don't agree or I don't like what's written, for whatever reason, I leave the blog. What is so difficult about this? Why stay somewhere that's uncomfortable when a simple click of a mouse changes your location?

    I'm also amused by the "I don't maintain contact with any narcs." Really? So you don't go to the movies? You don't watch television? You don't read? You don't interact with people at church, school, work. Narcs are everywhere, to one degree or another. How many quotes have a I read as inspirational that were said by narcissists?

    For most of my life, I thought no one was like my NM. I could live with being the only person on the planet living with someone like her. Then the internet introduced me to all kinds of people with lives similar enough to my own we could have been raised in the same house. I came to understand there are a lot of narcissists out there. There are a lot of borderline narcissists. There are narcissistic tendencies all of us share. Babies are all narcissistic in order to survive. The difference is whether one grows out of it.

    Thanks CZ or helping me develop a healthier perspective.

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    1. Hi Judy! I think we all help each other develop a healthier perspective and you have influenced me, too---so thank you for being willing to share your life! It was good to hear that you haven't been accused of being "a narcissist" by your readers. Whew! I really was wondering if everyone went through this kind of thing. Maybe it's because I manage a forum where now-and-then I must make judgement calls when people get a little "hot under the collar" or take offense.

      So bloggers might not be as likely to be called narcissists as someone with 'authority' over the group. If people don't like a blogger's viewpoint, they can go elsewhere. Although, that wasn't the case a few years ago when there were only a few websites and blogs about NPD. The growth has been phenomenal. Maybe the sheer number of narcissism websites cuts back on the insults, too? Hey, I don't know why you have lucked out but add that to your list of blessings and good fortune. ;-)

      Narcissism was totally demonized a few years ago. At this point, we've made a lot of progress in understanding narcissism on a continuum. It's not an either-or-situation and in 2014, we are all more narcissistic (individualistic) . So you're right...where would someone go i order to avoid having contact with narcissists? People keep trying to paint narcissists "black" and declare themselves "white" to simplify things and unfortunately, it's not that easy. I

      I think people are scared. They read sensational websites referring to narcissists as callous monsters--similar to sociopaths or psychopaths. That's how narcissism was presented ten years ago. As you described in your comment about the varying types of narcissism, people have a much more sophisticated understanding of narcissism today.

      Aways always, unhealthy narcissism is a dysfunctional relationship with the SELF and OTHERS. It's a "relational" deficit. Do people honestly believe someone with a narcissistic personality could affiliate with hundreds of people and manage a forum without blowing the place up? Taking offense at the least hint of criticism? Powering Over people with "the party line" and everyone who disagreed got the boot? We've had forums like that which is why we started our forum---to get away from arbitrary banning, deletions, excessive moderation and a single view of narcissism as "evil."

      I think some of the people who call me "a narcissist" haven't studied serious psychological literature. They've read a few websites and blogs describing narcissists as predatory. Then they read a list of criteria which could apply to anyone that had more self-esteem than an earthworm. Then they spot narcissists in the produce aisle, at church, on the other side of their bed because they have a superficial understanding of NPD.

      It is, let's be honest, much more exciting to read a website with a raging wolf monster on the front page and lots of hyperbole and metaphors. I think "some" people are just hostile people and they're looking for a site that justifies their anger. The last thing they want to hear is that narcissism is on a continuum and oh by the way, they're on it, too. ha!

      I am relieved to find out that your introspective blog doesn't encourage people to call you "a narcissist." And even if they did, it sounds like you'd take it with a grain-of-salt because people write terribly rude comments on the Internet. You just can't take those comments personally! Thanks for talking with me, Judy!

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  3. Hi CZ,
    When someone has to resort to name-calling, it means they don't really have a point. If they did, they would be stating it, not insulting. Name calling is them REALLY scraping the barrel because they have nothing else on you.
    It took me a long time to be able to see how this works, and I have you and the other bloggers to thank for this, because at first I would either be too puzzled, confused, or too wounded to be able to see clearly. Now when I get one of those "bullets", I catch it before it reaches my body and I turn it round "a la Neo" ;)
    I can never thank you enough for all that you have taught me.
    Lots of love,
    Kara xxoo
    P.S.
    I loved the artwork. It is so very fitting.

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    1. Hi Kara! Of course you'd notice the pictures which weren't that easy to find. I guess artists weren't being paid to paint the Salem Witch Trials for the county courthouse. ha!

      That's a good point----name-calling is a last resort. Someone is truly scraping the bottom of the barrel when the meanest thing they can say is, "You're a narcissist!" Our first reaction is to defend ourselves. We're so busy trying to understand WHY someone would say that, that we lose the point of the argument. It's like being stunned for a bit because it is so nonsensical. Is someone using the "stun method" on purpose or do they actually believe we're narcissists?

      I think in some cases, people believe we are because they are frightened or maybe because they're traumatized from an abusive relationship. Any behavior resembling their experience with someone who had a narcissistic personality would frighten them. Maybe everyone goes through a stage of that in the beginning...

      The view of narcissism that's been promoted in the media (not psychology sites) is one of Facebook preening, likes-and-dislikes, "friends." If that's all narcissism were, ACoNs wouldn't be traumatized, families wouldn't be torn apart, businesses wouldn't be suffering from high-risk investments and tyrannical leadership.

      I am so touched by your appreciation, Kara. I wanted to make something beautiful out of my sorrow and your comment fills my heart. Many people have expressed a similar desire as mine, if they could help just one person by telling their story...

      It is such an amazing thing to have the Internet, being able to talk with people all over the world, sharing our lives with one another. How different my experience would have been without meaningful connections to people like yourself! No more isolation. No more self-blame. No more FOG. It has been so liberating for me to learn about NPD and understand how-and-why certain relationships didn't function and in fact, were detrimental to the people "in" that relationship. That people use "You're a Narcissist" to demean and attack other people is disheartening for if this is happening to me, it's surely happening to other people who don't deserve the "label" either.

      While writing this post, I thought about a few people who accused partners/parents of being narcissists when the reverse appeared to be true. Surely this happens. What also happens is that narcissistic parents raise narcissistic children because it's not an either/or. It can be both/and. This is why it's valuable to get to know someone although I've noticed something else that's "telling." People who are narcissistic are NOT self-disclosing. They focus on the other person, so caught up in blasting the other person that you really don't know very much about their lives, their thoughts, their choices. There's a balance of course but a warning sign might include being overly focused on the narcissist without talking about themselves. Stuff like, "I felt _______" and "I think __________" and "I did ___________".

      Narcissistic people are less inclined to reveal how they feel or any information they believe could be used against them. This depiction fits a couple of the folks who accused me of being "a narcissist". I realized when they cut off contact that I honestly didn't know very much about them per se but a whole lot of stuff about the narcissist they were writing about. People get this confused too---assuming someone is navel-gazing and narcissistic rather than recognizing their capacity for introspection and self-awareness. You are all that and more, my dear non-N friend. ;-P

      Love you, too
      CZ

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  4. Hi CZ,
    This is very true, "Do people honestly believe someone with a narcissistic personality could affiliate with hundreds of people and manage a forum without blowing the place up? Taking offense at the least hint of criticism?"

    Often when someone gets a little information and it provides the answer it goes amuck. Challenging others is met with hostility. And then, the claws come out because someone disagreed or held onto their principles. The term 'narcissist' is used to insult with little knowledge behind this (and here I refer to information being different from knowledge). It has become a weapon of choice in the forums and blogs about it. I think that name calling 'narcissist' hits hard because of the very purpose of these blogs.

    To answer your question, I have been called that (along with others) as an insult (not on the blog). This was done face to face and well the person did know my personality. I was angry and most of all fearful that I was turning into my mother. It really hits because it is the very thing I am trying to get back in balance.

    Hugs, TR

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    1. Hi TR! Your point is a good one to think about: a little bit of information goes amuck. People think they know everything there is to know about a topic, having only a superficial understanding of the topic. We're probably all guilty of that to some degree, at some point in our lives. I certainly was when first learning about NPD, assuming any degree of narcissism was pathological.

      It was easier to understand narcissism as "either/or". And "either/or" made it easier to make a decision about ending a narcissistic relationship. A few signs of narcissism and that was enough to end a relationship that was definitely destructive. Better to walk away than continue being drawn into the crazy-making dynamics of EVERY narcissistic relationship and it doesn't matter if it's unhealthy, destructive or pathological. Narcissistic relationships drive other people nutz---not the narcissist. You can manage N-relationships to some degree, depending on how aggressive and hostile the "n" might be.

      I appreciate your validation about cyber-readers using the term "narcissist" to abuse one another. For someone who might be new to the internet or perhaps still reeling from narcissistic abuse, being called "A Narcissist" can be profoundly disturbing. Most people have ingested the narcissist's projections to the point they distrust themselves, to the point they believe they're at fault.

      People who abuse other people know this---they know calling someone "a narcissist" will hurt them if that person is fairly new to the blogosphere. You and I have been around for awhile and name-calling isn't destabilizing like it might have been in the beginning. Now if someone honestly believes I or you or anyone else IS a narcissist, then they need to spend a little more time reading credible literature about this disorder.

      Now I must be honest, having thought a lot about this article over the past few days. And yes, I have called people "narcissistic" as deviations from "healthy narcissism"--including myself. That is different than calling someone "a narcissist" as an insult, as a way to diminish them or "put them in their place." I will be more careful using the word "narcissist" in my writing, defining how I'm using the term so there's no confusion.

      As always, I write what I need to read and hope it's beneficial to other people, too.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    2. It is beneficial! It challenges many thoughts and assumptions I have held onto and I appreciate that because it helps me push through and understand my own battle with narcissism. Not easy and I may go kicking and screaming ;).

      I am definitely guilty of misunderstanding Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom, and I'm a analyst! What is funny and not really funny is that we often go in the other direction too. We have enough information about something or someone to make a decision yet we still seek more for security. I've experienced this in my jobs, where people want more data, info and more is not necessarily going to reduce uncertainty and in my personal life, where indeed I have enough info to make a decision.

      That is so true what you write about the term narcissist and its use. I remember your Armchair post and I think that is something that I am learning to discern as well as I read more about it - using it to describe a set of behaviours not as an either/or or name-calling.

      Hugs, TR

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  5. Kara's right, the artwork is awesome.

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    1. It IS, isn't it! Considering mass hysteria and the mob mentality, the Salem Witch Trials seemed a fitting depiction of the way narcissists are being "outed" today. The big dudes at the top of the pecking order are ignored. The little people in the middle scapegoat each other like crabs in a barrel. Anyone who dares stand out or has a "voice" is targeted for a put-down so we all feel better about our ordinary-nothing-special status. ha!

      I think it's more common to see female bloggers accused of narcissism than male bloggers who are described as dynamic, powerful, ambitious and competent---typical male traits we admire in a narcissistic society. When a woman writes a powerful expose on narcissism, she may be more likely to be accused of self-promotion, self-centeredness, emotionalism and incompetence. Just sayin' it's been my personal experience that women are more likely to be called narcissistic for having the same traits admired in men and considered normal for men (not women). I've been catching up on my feminism, preparing myself for an article on the connection between Narcissism and Misogyny which is why gender would come to mind. How many women have been called Narcissists for the same behaviors lionizing men as brilliant?

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    2. Agree, the artwork is awesome! I'm looking forward to that topic. xx

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  6. Yep. In men it's praised. In women it's feared or shunned.

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  7. Just watched most of a Karen Straughan talk. What hooey, a history shot full of holes and mischaracterizations. Her positions come from her temperament/disposition rather than an objective look at historical categories such as property law, political rights, economic lack of parity, the shutting out of women from important processes (Constitutional Congress anyone?), etc. She's a self-appointed guru for the MR movement. Can't stand self-appointed gurus :-)

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    1. Thanks for watching the video, CS. When Straughan was delivering her speech at the recent Conference on Men's Issues, it made me cringe. She must not be familiar with her grandmother's history. Didn't she ever listen to the womenfolk talk about their lives? The real deal, the nitty gritty?

      I think TR's comment about a "little bit of knowledge" applies here. And I appreciate your comment about Straughan's temperament/disposition informing her positions rather than historical data. She believes feminism is male oppression which fits right in with the MRA's views. At the end of her speech, Straughan appeared to blush with pleasure. She received a huge round of applause from the audience. Misogynists just love it when women hit themselves in the face.

      This is a link to her speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZgr6939MPU

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    2. "misogynists love it when women hit themselves in the face." Ha! She needs male validation in an excessive way. This is the only thing I can think of that would make her twist history in such a blatant way. Her misuse and spin on certain hand-picked facts (such as joint custody issues) is highly selective and she is nobody's idea of an historian, feminist or otherwise.

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    3. I needed to hear your 'take' on Karen Straughan's historical accuracy because I'm open-mined, very; discernment is my challenge. I've since watched news stories in other countries who are not hesitant to express their shock that these people are taken seriously in the USA. Media coverage connotes credibility to most people. They don't realize the "alternative view" is a crackpot marginal opinion unworthy of consideration. News reporters call this 'fair balance' but it's misleading to the average viewer. A recent article in "The Telegraph" discussed this problem:

      "In April the BBC was accused of misleading viewers about climate change and creating ‘false balance’ by allowing unqualified skeptics to have too much air-time."

      link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10944629/BBC-staff-told-to-stop-inviting-cranks-on-to-science-programmes.html

      I appreciate individual's right to live by their personal weltanschauung. But promoting "cranks" by putting them on the same platform with scientists, psychologists, academic feminists and historians is "pandering" to public ignorance and prejudice. Thanks for watching the video and responding. <3

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    4. "I appreciate individual's right to live by their personal weltanschauung. But promoting "cranks" by putting them on the same platform with scientists, psychologists, academic feminists and historians is "pandering" to public ignorance and prejudice."

      A narcissist would never write this. (chime in ET with "psychology is an unscientific 'profession'")

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  8. "It is such an amazing thing to have the Internet, being able to talk with people all over the world, sharing our lives with one another. How different my experience would have been without meaningful connections to people like yourself!"

    Yes!

    That has not been my experience with blogging (my blogging experience is an entirely different realm, with a smaller audience, a "niche" topic regarding my family's genealogy--so I've gotten wonderful and supportive communication). BUT the narcissism insult has been hurled a few times when I've participated in online political or news discussions. I'm relatively neutral politically, I find BOTH parties to be disgusting at times. Politics in my mind is a very dirty business and I don't think one could get there and be successful without some narcissistic tendencies. I challenged a substantial new local school levy several years ago, complaining that the levy wasn't supporting new teachers or books or educational things but rather it was going to a "study" of the problem (and the local school district here is large, urban and loaded with unnecessary administration and bureaucracy). I felt the new levy was a waste of money. I am NOT opposed an iota to the idea we must support public schools with tax dollars but felt the problem was obvious: the money in the schools was not going to students and teachers but to feed a bunch of administrators to justify their jobs and existence instead of finding ways of improving student test scores and our falling graduation rates in the local public schools. I got called all sorts of things -- "selfish," "old fart not wanting to part with their money," "self-important Republican nob," (and funnily, I AM registered as an independent LOL), etc. One went to far as to fling the poop as to say I was narcissistic and a cold, uncaring person. Wow. I had kids, I educated them in public schools, and I HAD campaigned for a levy in the district where we lived at the time because I felt that levy was a good idea given the circumstances.

    I find it interesting that people can fling the monkey poop like that online without knowing the other person. Not that knowing the real facts or my insights about the matter would have changed these few folks' mind one whit, but I think this is just a fact of life if you're going to open yourself up publicly on any internet platform. It doesn't bother me really, sometimes I sit behind my laptop and howl with laughter at the utter nonsense of what is being said and then I'll eventually say "sayonara" to that particular forum or blog or website if the discussion doesn't seem focused on the matter at hand.

    Writing about narcissism is NOT being a narcissist. We all want to be heard, liked, have social interaction. Blogging provides us with some of that. We are human. We need to have our ideas and thoughts heard and discussed with others in order to expand our understanding and experiences. Narcissism is a TOPIC and yes, there are people out there who are narcissistic. But I think that takes an experienced psychiatrist/psychologist to diagnose the issue.

    There is a very funny thing about the internet, it's sort of like when kids argue--they'll yell louder than the kid they're having the disagreement with and thinking "well, he who yells loudest wins." That's the mechanism of these trolls who toss insult or "diagnoses" at a poster or writer. I don't know their motivation for even reading blog or an article but darn it--if they don't like an idea or a response, they're going to throw in a black and white argument into the discussion in order to sway it away from the topic at hand.

    I love reading this blog. I don't have a lot of time to read it, so when I do I am on it for hours, absorbing what I've missed

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    1. I agree with much of this comment; but I'd disagree on one point: "it takes an experienced psychiatrist/psychologist to diagnose the issue." One problem in the therapeutic domain is an inability to wrap some professional heads around how profoundly unloving narcissistic parents can be. There are many mental health professionals who are not well-educated about the variety, depth and nuances of narcissism, from tendencies we all share to out and out clinical disorders. Why? Because narcissists rarely go to see therapists or psychiatrists. Mental health professionals instead have to deal with the victims of narcissists, and depend on the accuracy and honesty of the patients' representations. Several bloggers in the ACoN community are so well-educated about matters of NPD and the range of Cluster Bs that they are more knowledgeable than many credential therapists. This isn't to say that there aren't wonderful therapists. It's just to respectfully disagree with your statement that only an "experienced psychiatrist/psychologist can diagnose the issue." I can diagnose it at this point, and so can CZ. So can others who aren't mental health professionals but have read virtually everything that's out there in the medical lit, psychological material, and the history of it all, as well as the DSM. I can diagnose my NP very clearly at this point, down to the exact type of narcissists each is. How? I've been studying family dysfunction as a way to understand my own situation for going on thirty years now. LIke CZ, and several others, I've read a ton of "expert" lit on the subject, more than many licensed therapists have. One of the challenges we have in blogging about narcissism is being respectful of what a complex, nuanced and scaled phenomenon it is. That's why CZBZ's blog on it as a Continuum is so profoundly helpful. That's my 2 cents, anyway, with a few dimes thrown in!

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    2. Hi Anonymous,

      Sorry about the delay replying to your comment. My life is complicated. Like everyone else's! Thanks for reading and thanks especially for your comment. It's good to know people feel comfortable coming back and catching up with my blog. There are so many thing I'd like to write about but my time is limited these days. I wasn't sure if people would come back considering the few times a year that I post, so thank you!

      This last insulting email didn't upset me in the least. I've learned to let people formulate negative opinions about me without feeling the urge to educate, placate or date them. ha!! Most of us want to be "liked" so it's a learning curve allowing people to hate our guts.

      I loved reading your story about the school levy! That's another interesting topic: demonizing the other political party and you know, it seems sometimes that people have "split" reality into polar opposites. The media encourages people to do this and it's psychologically unhealthy. It's something we want to grow out of as we mature, not reinforce!

      You wrote: "Writing about narcissism is NOT being a narcissist. We all want to be heard, liked, have social interaction. Blogging provides us with some of that. We are human. We need to have our ideas and thoughts heard and discussed with others in order to expand our understanding and experiences. "

      Agreed! People are social animals. We communicate ideas, share experiences, listen and validate one another. Along with friendly conversation, we disagree from time-to-time. How we handle disagreement says a lot and there have been periods in my life when I've been defensive (especially during high-stress situations). Maybe that's why we "let it go" (or even chuckle) in recovery communities because we know how anxious most people are when they first start learning about "pathology." There's a reason WHY they're learning about pathology and it's not because their relationships are "Joyful Little Bundles of Unconditional Love."

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    3. I wanted to add something to anonymous's comment when she wrote:

      "Writing about narcissism is NOT being a narcissist. We all want to be heard, liked, have social interaction. Blogging provides us with some of that. We are human. We need to have our ideas and thoughts heard and discussed with others in order to expand our understanding and experiences."

      When narcissistic people want to SHUT someone up, they insinuate that "writing" (telling the truth) is a forbidden act and "should" not be done. If the writer feels guilty, then he or she is overcoming one of our biggest hurdles to Grounding Ourselves in Reality: our guilt, our wrongness. The guilt can be even MORE silencing than direct censorship which often makes us want to rebel, right? If someone were to say, "You cannot write about your x-husband!", we may be even more inclined to do so (if you have one of those rebellious hearts like mine.)

      But if someone implies we are being narcissistic (guilt and shame) or that we are doing something wrong (which is always upsetting if we have a conscience), We Will Silence Ourselves.

      This could be a post of its own. I thought about your comment yesterday and realized what an act of self-empowerment it was to overcome the "no talk rule" imposed by dysfunctional families (and abusive partners, etc.) by writing about our lives. I'm probably not the only one who was temporarily silenced in beginning when someone accused me of being "a narcissist". I remember the specific text by someone I trusted (an authority figure) when she informed me of my narcissism. I couldn't even type for a couple of days, so worried was I that speaking openly about my life had proven to her that I was "a narcissist." It took awhile for me to restore my equilibrium and sanity---so ACCUSTOMED was I to the backwards-reality of the narcissistic relationship.

      So accusing someone of being "a narcissist" is an aggressive act and lucky the recipient is if she has restored her self-worth and her sense of reality because then s/he will not be destabilized or hurt by the accusation. for a lot of people, they are too fresh into their 'recovery' to be able to defend themselves.

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  9. I am the anonymous poster previous. I see your point, Calibans Sister. I really do. My statement will still stand though -- I am NOT a professional. I am an ex-wife of an alcoholic N and I can relate to so much of what is written here. Honestly I can. The best I can do with my exH is just to ignore him. Give him more than a crumb of attention than he truly needs (and I do see him periodically--we had a family and there are family functions) and he globs onto it like white on rice and and he's twisting the situation around to make him look like the good guy and me an atrocious biatch. I really don't care any longer. We've been divorced well over a decade. I just ignore him at family functions for the most part. I DO get it. And really don't care what "label" applies to him any longer, whether narcissist, alcoholic, just plain ready for a loony bin, etc. Over the years, I've disconnected so well from him that I just do not care. Period. I read, read, read, read until my eyes were bloodshot over the years about narcissists, addictions, and codependency. I still don't think that makes me an expert or able to professionally diagnose anyone. And to me that IS the gist--I cannot professional diagnose anyone AND as you've pointed out, any diagnosis is useless to the N unless s/he is willing to work on his/her problems. My diagnosis of my ex is worthless to anyone except me, really. It just is the definition I have of his personality. If any professional got a hold of him (and that won't happen unless he was tied down--he literally despises a daughter who DID study psychology and is working to become a clinical therapist), my gut tells me that diagnosis would be complicated (co-existing issues) that would pale in comparison to my diagnosis as a lay person with experiences with N people. And a diagnosis is only a starting point. I can't treat anyone!

    We just can even informally diagnose based on one's writing on the internet/email just based on our personal knowledge and experiences with Ns, in my view. Communication modes give us different information as well--what I read I usually try to interpret only as opinion, not as an attempt to define one's personality or psychological traits. Face to face communication may reveal to me a person entirely different than the impression I get just from reading a piece someone's written.

    With someone over the internet, I may not understand what they're saying, I may not LIKE what they're saying, they darn well may not even make any sense. What some folks really do not understand about email and blogging/commenting is that is really is asynchronous communication. We can let the communication decompose by ignoring it, letting it sit, and perhaps even deleting it if we feel the person corresponding with us is not even on the same planet we are. (And I've had a few "looney tunes" get a hold of me over my blog, leaving comments. I'd either not approve the comments OR I'd just not respond if the comments made no sense to me or just seemed like drama.)

    But I do agree that narcissism is complex and nuanced. I have learned so much more by simply reading here over time than I can explain. It puts so much of what I went through with my ex into perspective. It is a continuum. I also believe that nearly all people have a healthy dose (a smidge) of narcissism in them. Enough at least to know when to put themselves first, how to care for themselves well, and understand that airplane metaphor about putting your mask on first before helping any one else.

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    1. Hi Anon, I think this reply is completely reasonable and smart, and I take your point. None of us can officially diagnose anyone. That cannot be gainsaid. Thanks for the clarification.
      I just get frustrated by how many professional therapists and psychiatrists fail to accurate diagnose or even comprehend the extent of the varieties narcissism. There's a failure to take the victims observations into account, and often the victims are the ones who've done the most careful observing of narcissistic personality disorder over the years. And the ones who self-educate about the syndrome, and have observed it up close, can practically diagnose for themselves, if it gives them peace of mind or a way to comprehend. Official diagnosis, no of course not. Now I think this is a mild disagreement and clarification that is a model of how reasonable people should disagree, slightly, don't you? best CS

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    2. CS, definitely agree! I got frustrated too with therapists myself when dealing with my ex. I've sort of (finally after all these years) have come to a conclusion with my situation: 1) Since my ex refused to work with even a marital therapist, absolutely REFUSED to see a PDoc or therapist on his own AND I worked with a PDoc/therapist on MY OWN--I've figured out that perhaps the therapist made me focus on myself, that without my ex, no diagnosis necessary for him. I worked through my issues and how I should deal with WHAT I KNOW about him so I can manage my (if any) reactions to him, and JUST. LET. IT .GO.

      But you are so spot on. I can spot a narcissist from a mile away. And absolutely a big AMEN to it is the victims who do the observation and self-educate to the point they can diagnose. I've worked with a few in the past few years, and honest to God, my experiences with my ex helped me deal with those two!

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    3. Hi Anon, too bad they teach us in ways that drag us through so much trauma, eh?

      CZBZ, new post up at CS. could use your input.

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  10. Of course I am no expert on anything of this.....though my life has been flooded with particular and dangerous narcissists. But! I have learned so much here on this blog and others...about narcissism, far more than what I have ever learned in therapy. In fact, I agree with CS: the therapists I have come across (and this is with one exception) have known little to nothing about narcissism. This is dangerous for an ACON. It definitely compounds our problems in figuring out what the hell has happened to us.

    I have found the people here on this blog and CZ in particular to be a beacon of healing for me. I come back when I can to read and to work things out. CZ and others here have been vital to my own recovery, and I love this fact. I find nothing narcissistic in you, CZ, and am trying to figure out the mean spiritedness of these attempts to cut you down, because they stink with a sick purpose.

    I am just a poet, but I have also had the scarlet letter "N" attempted branding on me BECAUSE of what I write (on occasion...) in poetry. I've had private emails from other poets saying that I concentrate too much on the 'insults' of narcissism, childhood issues, parental issues....and that this is sited as their examples 'why' I am a narcissist. That a 'real' poet looks outside of their miserable existence and that makes for real poetry.

    I give up. Had I not read William Stafford perhaps I would have fallen for this crap.

    Please continue on, CZ. What you write here is so powerful and abiding that more people would benefit from reading your blog.

    Love, Jane, who just found out that she has a broken hip and will be reading this blog a lot more because she can't do much else right now. The pain meds make me sleep all day.

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    1. Dear Jane,

      I'm just sick to hear about your broken hip after falling out the door, right? And you thought you escaped a serious injury? Tell me, what's the prognosis? Are you using crutches, are you in bed?? Be careful writing comments when you're high on drugs. My nephew spent his entire income on Amazon.com when he was taking Percocet. He even bought a violin???!!!%$#@! If you start thinking about Musical Instruments, send me an urgent message and I'll talk ya down! All joking aside, Please Get Better.

      I agree with you and all those who study narcissism, that the key to restoring our self-worth is understanding narcissism. It's a longer route and it takes more effort than summing a person up in a single word like: Jerk. I think understanding releases us from bonds we don't even realize are holding us hostage. Like the "inner critic", the voice of the narcissistic parent/partner that we believe to be our own.

      I don't see how ACoNs could fully understand their childhoods without studying pathology. We can move on from a narcissistic spouse (if we have children it's more complex, of course), but we can't "move on" from narcissistic parents. We kinda take them wherever we go. We must understand the environment we grew up in so we can understand ourselves. And we must stop blaming ourselves. That's a whole lot easier to do if you know, from your studies, that pathological narcissists can't bond in similar fashion. (for example)

      I've been reading about misogyny on the Internet, a very interesting topic when you're a female blogger. I believe a lot of the hateful insults we receive are because of the inflammatory nature of the Internet and the unleashing of misogynistic hatred. It's doubtful people would be so rude face-to-face...I mean the last insult came from someone who couldn't tell her mother how she felt--but she surely could tell me! Nice to know I STILL served a purpose. ;-P

      For a long time, I told myself, "Hey...that's the nature of the internet. Deal with it or leave." The sad thing, according to a recent documentary by the BBC is that women WILL leave the Internet or won't try communicating on the net because of the insults and threats and yes, misogynistic comments. You can watch this BBC video while you're resting. It's titled "Blurred lines" and I listed it on my new tab at the top of the page about Feminism & Prostitution.

      My goal in being on the Internet was to help just one person get out of her bed and stand tall during the humiliating Devalue and Discard. That mission was accomplished several years ago, so now I'm just coasting. And meeting wonderful people on the web. The truth is that I've talked with more people who are kind and loving than the occasional hater.

      Please rest well and get better and take care of yourself!

      Love and hugs (gentle hugs!)
      CZ

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    2. GAH JANE! a broken hip, oh god. I'm SO sorry. love and hugs too, and for heavens sake no flamenco!!

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  11. Lol...no flamenco. Yeah, that's a given.

    Prognosis: I have a 'nondisplaced fracture of the femur" which means it's the most ;benign' of hip fractures,..and yes, sliding out the door and twisting my right leg behind my waist (quite a feat) and pinning my foot in the doorframe did the damage. Plus I cracked a rib on the left side apparently when I fell full weight on my back. /geez, the things a woman does to get out of housework. (my dear husband just last week bought me a dyson, thinking that it 'would be easier to push around.' Yeah, with double suction can't move off the damn durries. LOL! )_ But you ;gotta understand men.....

    Bed and crutches for at least 6 weeks, but I am fighting doctor wanting to stick pins in me (3 of them). He's such a hysteric. LOL!

    Ok.....Listen...I agree that we need (ACONs at least) to study pathology...we can't really get around it. We need to understand narcissism in the deepest ways we can. And it comes (and it does...) to a point where we are released from these djenoun (malevolent spirits....djinns) They are devastating as anyone here can proclaim. BUT!

    We also restore our self-value, worth, esteem, whatever we call it....by going forward. We must not engage these devils that hound us. Period. Perhaps my situation is more extreme, but going NC was the basis for my deciding to live. Really. Understanding about pathologies/narcissism is the basis, but unless you are writing a book about that, what can you claim for yourself and OF your self?

    I am no more or less talented than any other person. I didn't do much with my life until 7 years ago. I guess it was this: I got to a critical mass of understanding about narcissism and I made a leap. A leap into the world that had been unknown, denied me, or something I didn't think was possible. (and this knowledge about narcissism wasn't complete, but so much became an 'A-ha!" moment). But my point is this: I realized the energy and time that I was expending on the foos, the ex-husband, the insults and injuries by passive/aggressive (boy, do I hate those people the most! LOL) Stroking my wounds.....was at a certain point: counter productive. Not that I don't slip back down that slippery slope, but I had to disengage from these djenouns. They were vampires, and nothing good comes from those folk.

    I was living in a world of hurt, paranoia, still thinking that I could effect a damn difference in what the foos thought of me. perhaps because my foos are totally convinced that I have no earthly value, am lost to their God, etc. either way, they were the barbarians at the gate, or I was. We were totally incompatible. So it was a bit easier for me to go my way in life and to cut them out of my heart. Sounds heartless? Well, you haven't met them, and I hope you never do.

    We take what we have learned about narcissism and then we thumb our noses at the devils that plague us. And we find our bliss....develop OUR talents....take back all the years that we denied ourselves and were denied to us.

    Oh, the meds are kicking in. I should shut up. And, I did buy a clarinet and a flute....have a couple of violins here...and I figure that I can play these things in bed. No foot work needed.

    Love, Jane

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    1. Jane, I love you. You are such a sharp and sweet soul. I'm glad you have fun meds; and you are right that at a certain point thumbing what's left of our noses with what's left of our thumbs is the best thing to do. Re: Dyson's, great vacs but DAMN those suckers are HEAVY. You could've taken a less drastic way of getting out of vacuuming, but why do anything halfway, eh? my gifted wise friend. CS

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  12. LOL! Yeah, that sucker is HEAVY! And I LOVE YOU TOO! Oh, the sweet hysterical pin pushing doctor wants me on muscle relaxers....but! Walgreens' system has gone down for 3 days now...and they had (as of yesterday....) at least 142 rxs to fill....and mine was 143. LOL! now, I can live without muscle relaxers, but what about people who rely on these meds that are much more important??? Like breathing stuff, etc??? I see a law suit coming to Walgreens soon.

    My 94 year old sucker-vampire is lost to humanity and so are the foos. I was spinning my wheels, allowing THEIR opinions of me to be things that hurt, hurt, maimed. This was so not good. I didn't realize that there was an alternative life out there, until I went NC and started to mean it. And now?

    It was a process...mileage varies, as is said. But there was nothing for me to continue on this road of feeling so bad about myself, that I was not only chronically (clinically?) depressed, but suicidal. SOMETHING saved me from that dark fate, and it certainly wasn't them and their religious beliefs.

    I think for most of us....it's just this: perhaps our natural curiosity about life and all it's possibilities....I felt like I was in prison....but there was a small window that I could fabric hope from.

    When I went NC, things started to change....I started to ;change. And meeting you birds has been so helpful. Life opens up.....when we aren't immersed with narcissists and their pods. LOL!


    I think in some species noses and thumbs grow back. LOL!

    Love to you, CS.....and all others here. Oh, and I REALLY hate passive aggressive people. I heard a great joke the other day: "Quakers aren't violent people: they are passive-aggressive". And that really answers my 12 year experience of sitting on the same bench. And as the Japanese say: passive aggressiveness is the knife behind the smile. (well, not all Quakers are passive/aggressive, but in my experience, so many were..) PA's are very hard to deal with because trust is eroded. end of soapbox.

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  13. Thank you for posting this. It was an incredibly useful and eye-opening read and something I think I needed... I have been having issues with someone close to me due to their tendency to take offense whenever I have a question about, well, anything serious--our relationship, lives, plans for the future, feelings, etc.--and was genuinely wondering if this was something unique to him or if there was actually a name for this or if I was just... projecting. I was concerned, because, somehow, I always ended up as "the bad guy", so... I intend to read all the information here and see how to best handle (resolve?) the situation.... And hopefully prevent future ones.

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    1. Hi Kingdom,

      When someone is unable to handle criticism and takes offense easily, you are guaranteed to have problems IF you are hoping for an intimate relationship. People can change; they can mature; they can learn to be less-reactive.

      If however, the person who is "hostile" to your questions is NOT interested in taking responsibility for his/her reactions, that's another warning sign. Intimacy is based on being able to talk about the things that hurt us and trusting our partner to take responsibility for themselves. If they can't do that in the beginning of a relationship, it won't get better (most likely).

      If you are constantly being told that you're "the bad guy" and your partner seeks validation from other people to prove his/her view, that's Strike Number Three.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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