This is part 2 in a series. You can find part 1 here.
The core concept of the approach I am taking is grounded in my own personal story and how I acquired my particular brand of damage as a ‘fragile’ narcissist.
As I’ve been on this journey, I’ve been forcing myself to identify and appreciate my TRUE gifts (not my made up ones). One of my TRUE gifts is large-scale systems thinking and analytical problem solving. My mind is often able to understand patterns and make connections that may not be as obvious to others… Then I switch into root-cause analysis mode and begin to break down the issues and identify their solutions. This is also what I do professionally.
I’ve spent the past two weeks doing the same thing with my mind. Now – it SUCKS to not be able to actually TRUST my own mind, but I’ve started to test for truth in my actual experience as a way to separate fact from fiction and identify those things that are actually moving me CLOSER TO my true, authentic self and AWAY FROM my faulty patterns of learned behavior (I’d like to thank my therapist for that line). My goal here is to share what I’ve learned so far.
One other key point to make here. I fall under the fragile type for NPD. I CAN ONLY SPEAK TO THE FRAGILE TYPE! These methods may have absolutely no value to the other narcissistic classifications. But THERE IS NOTHING TO BE LOST BY TRYING! And EVERYTHING to gain! Literally! This is important, because the theories driving my approach are significantly dependent on the specific patterns that are common to the fragile character type. In the research paper I will reference, it is expressed that ‘fragile narcissists suffer the most’. It is this suffering that I believe allows for healing of a fragile narc mind – but that’s just my belief.
The basic premise of my theory is this. Pathological narcissism of the fragile type, is caused by a failed bonding experience with caretakers during early childhood. This may be rejection and abandonment (as in my case) or it could be any one of another million things. We’ll talk later about getting to the ‘root’.
Due to the intense nature of the root cause, the child’s mind ‘breaks’ in two. I won’t try to get into ego and id, but let’s start simple and say that we’re working with a FALSE SELF, A TRUE SELF, and a RAW SELF (explained later). In order for the child to protect itself, a mental wall is erected and a false self is born. The true self is locked away in a prison of the mind! The false self uses ‘masks’ to stay one step ahead of the world and play out it’s deceptive games as a way to protect the child within (albeit in an EXTREMELY destructive manner).
The false self and the true self end up in an ongoing pitched battle though. Which causes all kinds of internal emotional havoc and drives a LOT of the fragile narcs behaviors. In fact, it is my belief that ALL of the dysfunctional fragile narc thought and behavioral patterns can be summed up as 10% to 20% not understanding and connecting with people, and 80% to 90% bad behavior on the part of an emotional child that was never forced to grow up and was never given the tools to be anything other than a narcissist.
Think of it this way. It’s not that a fragile narc lacks empathy. I really dislike the continued notion that we are broken psychopaths incapable to true love and deep emotion. This is a ridiculous view of the human mind that fails to account for what science and spirituality have to say about the power of the mind to change and heal itself! But I digress.
The fragile narc HAS empathy! He or she just doesn’t UNDERSTAND it! Again, as part of my working theory, I believe that the fragile narc mind places empathy ON HOLD as a way to make room for the rationalizations that a narc mind must make to account for its own actions. It’s complicated, but what’s important is that we can turn it back ON! All it takes is the development of mindful awareness and a whole lot of supporting work in order to find joy and connection in the world again!
From a behavioral perspective, almost ALL of the truly bad behavior (everything NOT tied to understanding, respecting, and honoring others – i.e. empathy) is really just a view into the mind of the true self, still stuck at the age of the emotional break. It REALLY IS a matter of forcing the child inside to grow up and learn to use the tools that they were never taught in childhood. This steps into the realm of behavioral retraining – which is a HUGE part of what’s needed. Seriously though – if you watch how narcs behave, it really is like watching a spoiled 5 to 10 year old child acting out. In our case though, there’s a whole other layer of dysfunction being added in by the false self… which magnifies, intensifies, and taints everything we do.
For me this creates a powerful vision of what’s needed to heal! Over the course of the last two weeks, this is the work that I’ve done to sort out my own mind, understand my condition, and map out a path that I TRULY BELIEVE is the best one for me to travel and WILL bring me to 100% fully healed status! And yes – we’ll talk about what that means later.
First – let’s talk about the path as it stands right now…