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May 02, 2004

Considering Narcissism

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That Girl comments in Bloggish Narcissism "I am curious about the idea that narcissism is a "bad" thing - when I made that post on my own blog it was really to suggest that my blog is for and about me because that's all I really know about..."

There definitely is a "bad" form of narcissism . Although I don't watch TV (having a blog gets to be very time consuming) I hear that the reality shows are a veritable parade of "bad" narcissists. Like the Office of the President of the United States, the reality shows seem to attract them.

My good buddy, who has been sent to this earth to help the pathological narcisssists find their true selves - often a thankless job - tells me that that kind of narcissism is created by lack of emotional nurturance in a family, in combination with focused attention on achievement. The parents never do their job of connecting the little soul in their hands to life force energy, consequently, the child never develops a guiding internal self. Without an independent ability to connect to life force energy, the child is dependent on external approval for that good feeling. External approval then becomes their guidance system. Top that off with parents who would prefer an ornament rather than a human, where the poor kid is only as good as his ability to play the violin, recite the alphabet or go to Harvard, with no emotional support to do any of it, and you have a pathological narcissist. There is little joy in the "now", or in any process, since approval is only forthcoming after achievement.


Differentiation
is extremely painful for pathological narcissists , because the thrust that comes with it, punctures their fragile crust of being, and brings the realization of an "empty core" (not empty, just disconnected). A narcisisstic wound, as it's known in the trade, feels so devastating that the narcissist often responds to the slightist criticism with rage and threats of/ and/ or actual abandonment.

A pathological narcissist often believes that material possessions can substitute for emotional connection. They can be indentified by their accoutrements; cars, companies, spousal arm candy . Pathological narcissists often treat others as objects - their arm candy, their progeny and especially those whose approval they are not seeking, like waitresses. That's how they were treated.

With this in mind, we should all feel particularly sorry for George W., who never achieved much of anything before he was appointed by God to be our President. [a quote from an article in the Boston Globe April 29, 2004, reviewing the PBS Special "The Jesus Factor" "On the day of his second inauguaration, he told a small group of supporters in the governor's mansion, "I believe that God wants me to be president".]

W. is now is basking in stage one narcissism. He finally has his mom and dad's approval, not to mention the approval of his Group. Though there is the small problem of his incapacity to remember more than a hours's worth of media training. The Group can't leave him on his own for any extended period of time. They also need to be careful not to puncture his narcissism, or he may turn on them.

Poor W. was never very smart, didn't get good grades, flunked Rodeo 101. Jeb did a much better job in that arena. W. had to find his connection to life force energy through drugs and alcohol, because getting high felt so much better than being the family flop. Of course being an addict never gets anyone much approval, attention perhaps, but not approval. No wonder W. never mentions his first thirty five or forty years.

He did find a powerful substitute for his for his drug and alcohol addiction, however, Jesus. The fundamentalist form of Jesus tells you what to do, and it is all written down in the Bible, so that those seeking approval from the outside have a little instruction book to follow exactly. That's what's wrong with fundamentalism of all kinds. As Esther Hicks, channeling Abraham , says although the Bible, and similar texts that are taken as the literal word of God (I'm just trying to avoid a fatwah here) are interesting and helpful, they were written thousands of years ago and the instructions are a little antiquated. Better to have one's own connection to life force and be guided internally by an up-to-date resource.

So how did the pursuit of internal connection to life force energy and the development of guidance based on empathy and compassion for self, extended to to others, get labeled narcissism, as in pathological narcissism? Any authority who is trying to impose their will on others can begin by calling that which they wish to squash, a bad name. Heretic, ACLU member, French and Liberal are good examples of this. When someone has really "discovered himself" he is in touch with universal guidance. Those that are building power clubs rather that peace paddies find this most unnerving. When people are able to think for themselves; when they have faced the aspects of themselves that need healing with compassion and consciousness -- their firefighters, their chocolate frozen projections, their helpless, traumatized children -- then they are able to find and be guided by the light that is at the core of every human being. It is anarchy personified.

How do we free ourselves from that "thin gray veil" (in my case - a three foot thick wall of dung bricks ) that keeps us from our internal connecton with life force energy? By bringing it to the light of consciousness with rigorous, compassionate examination of all the traumatized and shamed aspects of ourselves.

Photo note: I got this idea from a photo on Photon , a gorgeous photography site - leaf through it and you'll be able to see the visual reference. Anyway, I thought mine was funny.

Posted by Dakota at May 2, 2004 07:54 AM