Narcissism

Now that narcissism is firmly rooted in our collective consciousness and vocabulary, it’s starting to get a little annoying.

Initially, I think it’s an important distinction, a characterization for someone who is frankly, acting like a jackass, leaving those around them totally confused and frustrated. It was helpful.

The first time I heard this word used in regular everyday life, my life, was from my mother’s cancer doctor. I struggled to understand her behavior well before her diagnosis and talked with him about it. He suggested she was a narcissist. It was helpful.

Now, narcissism is the thing that Meetups are made of, headlines run across newspapers, countless articles are available on Medium and even more YouTube videos explaining narcissism, it’s traits, what to look out for and the myriad causes. Oh let’s not forget the copious amounts of counseling sessions I’ve since attended, reiki, meditation and yoga, to clear my energy, balance my chakras and digest the fact that we’re pretty much swimming in a cesspool of fucked up people, including sometimes our parents.

Honestly, I think the word is being overused and it’s a little ridiculous now. But the truth is, it’s helped explain a lot of very hurtful and confusing behavior. The other side of it, is that anyone with a character flaw, emotional outburst or poor social behavior is being a narcissist, and I say “it just ain’t so”.

Narcissism is a serious hurtful condition for those who aren’t narcissists, and a totally fucked up experience if you’re the child (adult or not). It’s crazy making.

So I decide to dive in and read as much as I can in order to understand my mother, not just her behavior, but the root cause. I want to understand her pain. As I am reading and absorbing this new information, the guy I was married to seemed like one, and the guy I’ve been with the last couple of years both seems like they could be as well.

WTF?

What the hell am I trying to work out by marrying and dating narcissists. It’s been years since this word entered my vocabulary. I love psychology and trying to understand how trauma affects the brain, and the impact and disorderliness of a modern lifestyle. In my experience, most people have suffered some kind of trauma, some people get stuck in that trauma. Some people develop narcissist traits while others don’t. But is everyone who is sad, angry, violent, obsessive or otherwise poorly behaved a narcissist? When is someone just angry? When is someone just afraid? When is someone just totally into you? When is someone a know-it-all and not a narcissist?

These questions have plagued me as I try to wrap my brain around the implications. I went to my counselor one day and asked her If I’m one too. I was terrified that my traumas had me so stuck, that I might be a narcissist too, capable of manipulating the world around me with delusion and intention and that my charm was a terrible thing instead of, well, charming. She assured me I am not one, but only after I made her promise she would be honest and tell me the truth. I trust her. So I believed her.

In my sessions we mostly work on childhood traumas. I want to free up my disk space for more entertaining patterns and fun and if there’s a glitch in my hitch, I want to fix it.

In all seriousness, narcissism is dangerous. Being involved with someone of this particular malfunction, is crazy-making. Until the strength builds to steer clear, it’s a messy ride that requires years of untangling, self-love and support.

I don’t throw the word around lightly anymore. When the red flags start flying, I’m the first to do a little research. I now understand the extent and impact of narcissism in my life and only now understanding how I was the perfect partner for a narcissist.

Understanding it is helpful. The extrication process is a bitch.

If you’re in a relationship that makes you feel crazy, good luck to you.

There’s lots of support. Find it. Use it. Trust it.

Till next time.

Vanessa

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