When I posted my narcissist article yesterday it I revealed the identity of the Narcissist. I got some wonderful and helpful support for it, but obviously nobody was on the Narcissists’s side. I didn’t want them to be, I wanted the support, but I started feeling uncomfortable with myself. Basically I’m setting this person up to be judged by the whole world in a forum where they don’t have the ability to present their side of the story. Mmmmm not so comfortable with that. Not really.
She said through gritted teeth.
It just got me thinking. And while I was mulling it over, I removed the identity of the narcissist from my article. I don’t want to set somebody up to be persecuted or judged. When I’m angry and hurting I need to be able to yell and scream and say all manner of persecuting things – in private, where it can’t hurt anybody. First it gets rid of the energy, and second it gets me in touch with what I really need at a deeper emotional level. And it’s great to take it to therapy.
But I don’t want to do it in public. I’m sure there’s a whole lot of Catholic stuff about being good and angelic and saintly mixed up here, but there is some sanity, and it’s this: pointing fingers, “I’m right and you’re wrong, I’m good and you’re bad”, makes me feel very grandiose and justified for about one second, but it doesn’t bring me what I need. I don’t need to hurt somebody else, I need to receive love, to be heard and shown where and how to find it. I need the attention focused on me.
When I point fingers at somebody the attention gets deflected to them, so I set myself up. Imagine a person gets run over by a drunk driver. They’re lying by the side of the road, bloody, badly injured. But everybody goes running after the driver.
Put it like that and it’s pretty clear.
So probably a fairly accurate definition of a narcissist is that they don’t have the consciousness and skills to ask for what they need in a straightforward way. They don’t believe they deserve love at all, or that they’ll receive it unless their situation is the worst in the world, unless they’re more important than everybody else. Their need is so great and so unmet that they can’t see beyond it. From their perspective and in some place way way beyond the reach of their awareness and their thinking brain, they’re on the brink of extinction.
That’s why they fight so. I don’t think it’s about being bad or sick. I really don’t buy the mental illness thing. When a person is physically starving, they’ll either lie down and die or they’ll kill for food: they have no capacity to discern or care about their victim’s needs. I believe it’s the same with emotional needs. I may not be able to understand the level of emotional deprivation that drives a narcissist to their behavior – but I can thank my lucky stars that I can’t, because it means I’ve never experienced it.
There but for the grace of God go I.
Alas, the saying that if you point a finger at someone you’ve got three pointing back at you is uncomfortably and wretchedly true. I know my narcissist can’t give me the love that I need. If I keep going back there to try and get the love I need, I’m deliberately walking into an accident that will leave me emotionally bloody. If I then try to get my attention by pointing fingers at the narcissist, I’m setting myself up to not get what I was looking for in the first place. Isn’t that what a narcissist does? Eugh. I hate having to look at myself. It’s not always a pleasant sight!
One final word – well, a few, actually. Just because somebody can’t meet my needs, does that make them sick or bad? No it doesn’t. Everybody has their own story, and the right to their own journey. I don’t have to like people’s behavior; my emotions and experience are valid as are my needs. But if I want the right to those needs being met and to making my way towards a better awareness and experience of quality in life, then I must grant that right to everybody else in the whole universe with no exceptions. Otherwise I’m a fraud. Eugh again.