April 28, 2008

Sunday's Birthday Bash

I attended a three-person birthday celebration yesterday but we weren't frolicking in the garden with floral wreaths and flying men kissing our foreheads. That would have been nice, especially on a Sunday.

Birthday celebrations around this place are usually not heralded by the visitation of angels. Not that some of us don't figure our lives are worthy of God’s coronation; but because too many cherubs flitting through a garden frightens neighbors. We had to call off God's Army 'cuz we don't want to evicted from our homes. Neighborhoods like ours have standards to maintain, you know. CC&Rs and all that stuff, though a prohibition against angels is not specifically listed as one of the rules for maintaining a Proper Neighborhood.

I decided it was time to announce to my extended family that The Narcissistic Continuum blog was in process. It's taken me a long time getting up the nerve to see all my writing in one place. I expected people to applaud my courage. Welp...not really.

One family member quipped, "Gee, Auntie, when are you going to get over IT?"

I realize my inner battle was only a three second pause but it felt as if twenty minutes passed before recognizable word-sounds emerged from my lips. The conversation in my brain went something like this:

Inner Critic: "Yea, CZ. When ARE you going to get over it, you ol' scorned woman, you! What a mess you are."

Inner Lover: "You're not a mess. Narcissism is a mess. Stick with your truth babe, cuz you are WoN awesome Woman of Worth."

Inner Critic: "Woman of worth? A woman of worth deals with ugliness silently, refusing to share her pain with other people."

Inner Lover: "You aren't speading pain, CZ. You are helping people avoid similar tragedies in their own lives. Keep doing what you know is important."

Inner Critic: "IMPORTANT? Well, who DO you think you ARE, anyway?

Inner Lover: "Shut the hell up."

Inner Critic: "NO! YOU shut the hell up."

Inner Lover: "You suck."

Inner Critic: "I do not! You suck."

When left & right hemispheres started firing insults across the corpus callosum, it was time to speak for myself. To be sure, it's not 'nice' to talk about private struggles in front of the kiddies; but it's also not 'nice' to ignore pathological narcissism. If we don't know what pathological narcissism is, we won't see the problem when it's in front of our eyes.

Alas, and Lo and Behold! The people doth ignoreth the truth-teller. Fact is, some people never GET IT until a crisis interrupts the garden party in their heads.

I replied to the whole group now staring at me like I had Powdery Mildew, "And what if we still believed the earth was flat or that the sun traveled around our planet instead of the reverse, huh? What if people feared walking too close to the edge of the horizon? You guys wouldn’t be eating fruit in the middle of winter if shipmasters feared sailing oceans blue. "
I was on a roll now. “What if Newton hadn't shared his knowledge about gravity with other people? Huh? They’d still be sitting under apple trees getting concussions. That's how important it is to know about Narcissism!”

By this point, I had lost my audience who was more interested in seconds on cheesecake than listening to diatribes by the old aunt doing her best to put Kernberg’s theories into everyday lingo.

So here’s to bloggers who care enough about healthy change to write about the intimacies of daily life. We might indeed, be Over It; but a desire to help others remains. Altruism makes the world go round when those who sail closest to the edge of the horizon live to tell the tale to others.



  1. CZBZ~
    Smiling. I know the Inner Critic well. And I know the resistance of family to hearing the truth. I've gotten a lot of the 'sure hope you get through this soon' variety of encouragement. And that before I even have a chance to tell them what's really going on. ;-)

    As to letting on about the blog? Hmm... Right now, I think it would inhibit my freedom of expression if I knew family was reading it. Maybe, sometime, I will be at a place where that won't matter anymore.

    Keep on blogging. It helps us and you.


  2. Ah CZBZ...you hi on a subject I was just reading about at 2 am in the morning. I am telling ya, you gotta read the wolf book. It also discusses forgiveness in a way that made my early morning book reading well worth it.

    The silence people continue is unhealthy BUT due take not..the procedure of sharing is not for every one. I myself am interested in absolute dedication to healing and self reclamation. I find all of it positively interesting and empowering. That is me...I can say that even some of my friends will not do too much talking. They say something like...well, that is done with now get on with it..but they do themselves the most dishonor of all. People just are not educated in these matters and go with the common course of how one is supposed to heal. As Estes puts it...originally in psychology they figured a good year would do it but she describes the truth.So folks are just behind the times that is all. It took her 20 years to get her book published. I am glad she kept trying other wise I wouldn't be reading it. Many endevors take time to bring the fruits of the effort. Hopefully you are ready to see through the conditions of the party people. I myself know now when and how it is to present new info on the unknowing.I am aware of my own limitations and that means I can be aware of other peoples limitations and the critic doesn't come after me about that stuff. It becomes common sense.

    Don't allow others determine how you should grow..your heart instinctively knows how to grow.


  3. Dear Katherine,

    I can understand why people prefer keeping their blogs private from family members. I've been cyberspacing messages for years now, so the worst of my angst has passed. Thank goodness.

    At a certain point though, there was a subtle shift in my reasons for writing. I read a quote once that said, "Knowledge that is not shared, is stolen knowledge." Perhaps this is another reason why many of us feel a need to share what we've learned with others?

    Not to mention the fact that most targets/victims of narcissists appreciate sharing whatever they have. Even ideas. If we believe in mutual reciprocity (even unconsciously), we know that anything we Give will be Returned.

    Glad to put a smile on your face reading this post, though! I hope to bring light-heartedness to very serious topics.

    At first, we may feel as if we'll never laugh again, but rest assured: We Will Laugh Even More.


  4. Hi Not-so-Anonymous-Anonymous!

    You're very right that self-disclosure is NOT FOR EVERYONE. We don't have to tell the world about our troubles in order to heal. Breaking the Silence does not begin and end with self-revelation in the public sphere. My hope is that Breaking the Silence will lead to political action and increased social responsibility to stop abuse.

    You Wrote: "I myself am interested in absolute dedication to healing and self reclamation. I find all of it positively interesting and empowering."

    Yes! It is! For some people, the first narcissistic relationship began in the home which means there is a lot to learn about living healthily and happily. It feels overwhelming at first. But self-reclamation can be so rewarding that even the pain eventually yeilds to greater freedom to be ourselves.

    You wrote: "Hopefully you are ready to see through the conditions of the party people."

    Well, I made light of the situation because it was kinda funny and everyone relaxed the more I joked about Narcissism. A few years ago, no one would have dared say a word. LOL! We've come a long way as a family. People are more willing to listen if I'm not defending myself or pretending.

    It takes awhile to get to the point we can 'take ourselves lightly', though.


  5. CZBZ - I think that people are most resistant to hearing others experience/information for several reasons.

    I say the dominant feature is comfortability. While people strive to get comfortable on the exterior since they are not comfortable with in. so, when the exterior is uncomfortable it points to the internal dis-ease and discomfort. That would be the main reason for cutting off from just about any piece of information.

    I tend to make a decision . Am I up to spoon feeding to day or not???
    This includes my profession.

    I understand your passion to inform and create change. Just make sure you know your audience first. Test out lesser particles of info to find out how they digest. And for goodness sakes don't feed the vegans sea urchin.

    From working with the public I am that more aware of how slow things work and what the best conditions are for informing, teaching and exploring.

    I always begin in a style that is non personal. I am not there to share my feelings or experiences. I am there to inform. After I have won the ears and eyes of the crowd I can become more intimate and share my personal experience and that invites others to do the same.

    With in the yoga instruction...many people re very suspicious... they turn off immediately when it comes times for "oms". That filters out folks who are not prepared to connect internally.

    Another thing is when and where the teaching or information is presented. That makes all the difference in the world..where do I decide to create my plat form.

    Another thing to consider is how much thinking do people do for themselves. we are in a culture that has been spoon fed by the media. They don't even know how to do it. So, in other words...bring up a subject and observe how it is tossed around. ..like a beach ball...observe what the people do with it. People will make it into a joke whenever they are uncomfortable..or perhaps I might make it into a joke as soon as I notice others discomfort. the joke create distance so they don't have to feel it.

    I don't know how you do it CZBZ..talking about abuse and Narcissism. I myself flip it over and talk about self development. With self development I focus on the individual and tools before they are possibly needed.

    Really this stuff only happen on a very ABC 123 basis...nothing to deep or threatening.

    The ultimate grand slam approach is fine. I mean some one will pick up on it...could change the course of things for one person but then all of the others have a skewed experience of the teacher. That may or may not matter...depends on what one is up for.

    Consider how people talk abut sexuality or politics, notice the limitations on other subjects...most of the time people do not have the attention span to really get involved with being open and creative and explore. Most people just want to make their point...end of conversation. ..I have found that talking to even girlfriends can become like watching television. Really fast and very erratic subjects...no attention for one subject.

    Finally I speak to those who come to me and out of those people some info sheds light.

    I would think the point about acknowledging "predator" should be of value to women. Most of the time I experience people shaking in their cages trying to find external comfort to avoid. But then it all depends on how it is presented and who is your audience.

    so, teaching in 3-D requires a whole new set of people skills.

    Please share more of your experiences on this subject. I am always learning.


    Anonymous eyes

  6. "I don't know how you do it...talking about abuse and narcissism." ~Eyes

    Maybe one of the reasons I can get away with talking about Narcissism and Abuse is because I'm a non-threatening person. Being open and accepting by nature, people feel comfortable talking with me about almost anything. Even things they've never revealed before. It's part of my personality, I guess.

    My openness also means I have an opportunity to speak about serious topics without terrifying people or overwhelming them.

    Gentle people can be very powerful agents for social change and especially if their 'nature' is enhanced by obsessive tendencies for research. hahaha

    About "Picking my Audience" though...

    Had I been talking about NPD with professionals interested in refining the clinical diagnosis, our conversation would have been very different. That's because I'd have known to keep my mouth shut and my ears open.

    Had I been talking about NPD with fellow survivors, we'd have brought up Kernberg's name, not Newton's apple. And there might not be a lot of joking since our lives have been permanently altered because of the N-counter.

    But I was talking about NPD with a family who were also impacted by a maN who was so self-absorbed, he could not see beyond himself. In fact, I can talk about Narcissism and abuse without bringing up psychological jargon. The fact is, their hearts were broken, too and helping them understand that it was NEVER ABOUT THEM is another aspect of my personality. I can't stand seeing folks suffer needlessly.

    "I would think the point about acknowledging "predator" should be of value to women." ~Eyes

    I also feel it's important to be aware there ARE predatory-type people. We can learn about Warning Signs and Red Flags and hopefully, decrease our 'targetability'.

    BUT---I also think it's important to avoid assuming we're safe from being manipulated, conned, tricked and targeted. There's a certain smugness people get when they assume they are so healthy they could spot a narc from a mile away. NOT TRUE

    You've said a lot of things I'd like to comment on, though. I'll do that this afternoon and post on my blog tomorrow. In fact, I had written a much longer post touching on several points you made in this comment, but decided to keep it brief today. The sun is shining and twelve bare-root roses are waiting for me to plant them.

    Yea, Mary Quite Contrary is still beautifying her garden.


  7. ROTF..wetting my pants. This is so funny...and familiar...and you really need to kill that 'inner critic'.

    LOL!~ I wish I had read this before, but hell, it works fine for me right now.

    You keep trolling, babe. You got good legs and sense! Even if your family looks at you like...well, looking through you to the cheesccake.

    Lady Nyo


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