Brief Thoughts on Narcissism

Narcissism messes with my head and drains me of energy more than any other presentation of perspective and sets of behaviors. It’s like I can smell it a mile off and feel the urge to run the other way. Being around this phenomenon emitted by an occasional few promptly irritates me, almost like an allergy.

 
I find it challenging to lead with compassion for those suffering from this problem, and narcissism truly is a problem. It continues to be one of those unpleasant life teachers for me now and again, though the current U.S. “president” forces me to endure more frequent exposures to these unsavory teachings or lessons.

 
One clear lesson I’m still grappling with is, when directly faced with narcissism, first reminding myself that I am a vessel of compassion and curiosity. For, too easily, in moments of fluster and irritation with the narcissist, I often forget.

8 thoughts on “Brief Thoughts on Narcissism

  1. I’ve met very few narcissists. I’d be curious to know if it’s a condition that can be treated at all. As an HSP/Empath, it is easy for me to see what doesn’t sit well and I do give people the benefit of the doubt. Is the condition treatable and was it brought on by poor parenting vs born with it? If I question the existence of narcissism in someone, my Protectors are on alert. I will never trust a person I feel is narcissistic because of their ability to be so cunning. Inevitably, their need for attention/control leads them to show that ugly face too often. The President has shown it with the treatment of children in the immigration crisis, disregard of our feelings of what it is to be an American and how others see us as a nation, and now instilling fear in the millions of seniors worrying about Social Security. They always seek to attack the weakest in society, the most vulnerable. The collective shame we bear as a nation certainly is a catalyst for Existential Depression. I consider this behavior an abuse of power of the worst kind. Thank you, Sean, for bringing up and sharing your thoughts on this loaded subject since there seems to be a group mentality to this in the use of groups of children to bully and groups of adults in power that leads the victims to a sense of powerlessness that leads to depression and suicide.

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    1. Such wise, well-stated words, Donna!
      To my understanding, narcissism is indeed treatable, though very difficult to treat, because of the therapy-interfering behaviors of narcissists, some of which you point out here, such as their cunning. It is a specialty niche to treat narcissists. I do not know the statistics, if there are any, around what percentage of narcissists who actually engage in treatment follow through successfully on completing it. And, of course, their are the many narcissists who do not engage in treatment because they do not view themselves as having a problem. To them, others have a “problem.”
      You do well to have Protectors on alert, particularly being the Empath that you naturally are.

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  2. Yes, yes. Sorry such a long response, but your post send my mind into a flurry! Two related thoughts it’d be interesting to discuss (at least for me)… first, it seems to me that compassion and curiosity are the healthiest way for us to interact with people who are narcissistic–both because accessing these feelings is healthy for us and also because it may be the only way to reach these people who, underneath their horrid way of being in the world, are fundamentally insecure and seeking power and esteem in ways that alienate others rather than connecting with them.

    Second, the challenge for me is how to maintain compassion and curiosity when those very acts seem to make me vulnerable to hurt by narcissistic people. I struggle with how to approach them this way whilst still protecting myself physically and/or emotionally. That weird balance between compassion for the other and protection of oneself is hard to sustain! And, even more challenging, how does one approach engaging in effective persuasion to influence the other’s harmful beliefs and behaviors without getting sucked into the vortex of their self-absorption? The narcissistic person is skilled at deflecting any apparent challenge to themselves by minimizing, belittling, gaslighting, etc. in such a way as to make one feel in the wrong! And, like Potus, they’re masters of getting people to think their way and support their beliefs! I’m appalled by yesterday’s NYT report of what seems will be the fate of transgender people. AAAGH! (see link) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html?rref=collection%2Fissuecollection%2Ftodays-new-york-times&action=click&contentCollection=todayspaper&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

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    1. Such well-stated thoughts, Jazz! I think the challenges you speak of here in your second paragraph are common for so many of us when faced with narcissism. At the moment, off the top of my head, one response that comes to mind is “containment,” done, of course, from a place of compassion, but compassion for everyone around affected by the toxic behaviors in addition to the narcissist.

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    2. Sean, I forgot to mention the Transgender part of the equation which I have been hearing so much about on the other blog site I’ve been following. Another group of vulnerable people that are now being put in such a powerless position by our government. The shame keeps piling up.

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