Now that narcissism is firmly rooted in our collective consciousness and national vocabulary, it’s starting to get a little annoying.
At first, it felt like an important distinction, a characterization for someone who is frankly, acting like a jackass, leaving you totally confused and frustrated. It was helpful.
Then it became this serious and intense description that required meetups, counseling sessions (to make sure I’m not one), and copious amounts of yoga, you know, to digest the fact that we’re pretty much swimming in a cesspool of fucked up people.
Now, the word is overused and ridiculous. Anyone with a character flaw, emotional outburst or poor social behavior is a narcissist. Which is too bad, because it’s a serious condition and a totally fucked up experience (when you’re not one and you’re dating one, married to one, or your parent is one, or a child). It’s crazy making.
One day I was reading about the qualities of a narcissist. All of a sudden, the guy I was married to seemed like one, and the guy I’ve been with the last couple of years seems like one.
WTF?! Two in a row? 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.