It is fitting that this post is called ‘About Me’. This whole website is about me. Hell, this whole WORLD is about ME!
Me Me Me Me Me
One more time – and say it with me “ME”. Awww – you were were supposed to say “you” so this could still all be about ME ;-).
I am not going to start by giving you the low down on my life. I’ll cover it in bits and pieces where it feels right to do so. Instead I want to start with the very basic underlying nature of my disorder. I joke about everything being me me me, but that’s how NPD manifests. It’s far more complicated than just egomania though… and that’s what I want to explain.
Some caveats first:
- There are many variants of NPD. I can really only talk about my experiences – and that’s my focus here.
- NPD is extremely complex and convoluted. The concept makes NO sense whatsoever to the typical non.
- Every person with NPD has created a unique range of ‘characters’ based on scripts and situations that they’ve built.
- Every person with NPD is going to vary in how their symptoms present – there are some telltale signs, but the details matter.
The root cause of pathological narcissism is unknown. However, there are varying theories that all relate back to early childhood bonding experiences with parental figures. The nature of the failed bonding experience is what produces the FALSE SELF that NPD centers around. How an NPD is born can actually be a very sad or very confusing story. This is what is often lost on nons and on the victims of those with NPD. We are victims to. It’s certainly not an excuse for our behavior – that’s not it at all! But what you have to really GET about someone with NPD is that we have the emotional equivalent of a small child.
In my case I can only guess as to what the real cause is – I have a pretty good guess though. I was born to a military family. When I was 6 or 7 my parents got a divorce. We were living with my dad in another country – and one day we were just told that we were leaving. My brother and I flew back home with our mom. We moved in with a close family member for a while – in a tiny one bedroom apartment. I did not adapt well and began acting out – as most children would be expected to do in such a situation. However, after an incident at school things shifted in a very big way. We were supposed to travel to spend a week with the grandparents in another state. It was a great vacation – just what we needed. The catch? My mom was leaving me there. She took my little brother with her and left me behind. Between the ages of 6 and 8 I lost BOTH parental figures because of choices that THEY made. AND THEY LEFT ME BECAUSE I WAS BAD!
Guess what this does to a kid. It screws them up! So now lets talk pathology. NPD starts with the manifestation of a FALSE SELF that is erected as a protective barrier around the child’s mental state. This false self takes over the ego of the child. The actual ego of the child is buried deeply – hidden behind a wall. The child’s actual ego DOES NOT CONTINUE TO DEVELOP. It is the false self that takes over and begins to grow within the mind of the fledgling narcissist. The false self becomes both protector and puppet master though. In my situation, I probably erected my wall around 7ish years of age. That means that, no matter how old I am or how old I get, I have the emotional range of a 7 year old child. A scared and lonely 7 year old child that still acts out – with the false self giving permission and adding its own level of dysfunction.
If you knew me and saw my dysfunction in action, you’d probably be able to match me up against the actions of a 6 to 8 year old child pretty easily. Freud claimed that Narcissism and self-interest is actually our default state when we are born. Clues to the existence of primary narcissism come from observations of children and what Freud calls “primitive peoples,” who engage in what Freud in Totem and Taboo calls “magical thinking”: for example, believing that wishing for something will make it appear, or that uttering a spell will have real effects. These behaviors reflect a sense of the self as powerful, able to have an influence on external reality, and Freud believes that such an investment in the self is a part of human development. He calls it “an original libidinal cathexis of the ego” .
A narcissist is emotionally trapped in this childlike state. So when you think about the narcissist in your life – try to remember that at the core (at least for some of us) is a deep pit of despair and longing for acceptance. We never had the unconditional ‘good enough’ love experience that a child is supposed to receive from someone other than itself.
I’ll leave you with this. Let’s say that my body is a car. And lets say that my mind is the steering wheel. Most narcissists sleep through the entire journey and never wake up. If we do somehow wake up to our reality we find that we are asleep in the PASSENGER seat. And guess who’s driving. As you awaken, the False Self will start by trying to lull you back to sleep… and it will be relentless in doing so! In my vision, there are steps to recovery that are commensurate with: staying awake, taking over on navigation, getting into the drivers seat, silencing the false self, and ultimately booting him out of the car altogether.
Here’s to hoping…
-The Healing Narc