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RETHINKING NARCISSISM Reviewed
THE BAD – AND SURPRISING GOOD- ABOUT FEELING SPECIAL
Dr. Craig Malkin devoted himself to understanding narcissism because his mother was a narcissist. A clinical psychologist and instructor of psychology at Harvard Med School, Dr. Malkin is the author of this book and many articles. His insights and advice on relationships are applicable to couples, families, social media and the workplace.
I had to read his book because the word narcissist has been getting thrown around in my world quite a bit the last few years. When my ex told me he didn’t love me anymore it was because he was convinced I was a narcissist. My therapists and friends say, no, he is the narcissist. So you see my dilemma!
The myth of Narcissus includes a young man whose reputation for both his gorgeousness and his indifference was renowned. He thought of himself above any kindness and love. The woman in the myth is named Echo; she has no voice of her own.
Dr. Malkin presents narcissism on a spectrum from 1 to 10. Moderate narcissists fall in the middle, between 4 and 6. Moderate narcissism, the doctor says, can actually enhance love. People who fall on the spectrum between 2 to 3 and 7 to 8 have some bad habits that can be corrected. Echoism, the absence of narcissism and on the spectrum from 0 to 1, most likely requires hospitalization with little hope of recovery. Extreme narcissism, on the spectrum between 9 and 10 is considered an addiction and also requires treatment with less than optimal outcome expected.
The true narcissist displays “a complete lack of remorse and a penchant for manipulation; people who simply enjoy speaking their mind or being in charge are clearly different from narcissists who enjoy manipulation and lies; only people who never feel special or feel special all the time pose a threat to themselves and the world.”
You may have seen the test for narcissism on Facebook. I took the test and it said I was deficient in narcissism and directed me to Dr. Malkin’s book; where he discusses the test in greater detail. The test includes three parts to measure narcissism deficits, healthy narcissism and extreme narcissism.
My score showing me not feeling special enough puts me on the spectrum at 3. The statements that best define deficiency in narcissism are: “I’m not sure what I want or need in my relationships; when people ask me my preferences, I’m often at a loss.” Echoists are rarely straightforward about what might help them to feel better.
My tests score on healthy narcissism was also low, keeping me on the spectrum at 3. The statements that best define healthy narcissism are: “I like to dream big, but not at the expense of my relationships; I can rein myself in when people tell me I’m getting a big head.” Healthy narcissists enjoy fantasies of greatness without becoming addicted to them. They’re able to feel good about themselves with a solid sense of self-esteem and self-worth, and to enjoy attention and praise without a relentless need to prove themselves. The recipe for healthy narcissism is a family that encourages (not requires) dreams of greatness and a healthy model for love and closeness. Healthy narcissists learn to feel important to others by mutual caring and understanding.
Extreme Narcissism, where I also score well below average, is best defined by these 2 statements: “I secretly believe I’m better than most people; I’ll never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve.” The quickest way to engender unhealthy narcissism is to feel deep shame over ordinary human frailties and failings. When looks, talent or helpfulness become a perpetual concern there’s unhealthy narcissism.
There exist many different types of extreme narcissism. The extroverted narcissist loudly obsesses about standing out. The introverted narcissist silently races toward greatness while other people exist solely to support their self-esteem and relentless need to be understood. Communal narcissists regard themselves as especially nurturing, understanding and empathetic. They think they are the most helpful people ever, better than the rest of humanity at giving.
The most salient characteristic of the subtle narcissist is entitlement, an unremitting attitude that the world and everyone around them should support their exalted status. As dependence moves to addiction so entitlement escalates into exploitation and illness. Other people’s feelings begin to matter less and less. They will do anything necessary to get ahead including hurting others. The world exists for their benefit alone. This toxic blend of entitlement and exploitation blind the extreme narcissist to the needs and feelings of the other people around them.
The person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder vacillates between extreme arrogance and condescension, and feeling shy and full of shame. Either way they demand attention, admiration, approval and special consideration. Not all narcissists are psychopaths; but all psychopaths are narcissists. Devoid of sadness, anxiety, guilt and remorse, when confronted their rage can be terrifying.
How do you know if you are dealing with a dangerous narcissist and should RUN? There are warning signs. Extreme narcissists display emotion phobia and stay clear of other people’s emotions. They use an insidious form of projection where they deny their own feelings by claiming they belong to someone else. My ex also told me he didn’t love me anymore because I was jealous – an example of this type of projection that Dr. Malkin calls passing the hot potato. Other warning signs include the narcissist’s constant need to remain in charge. I was affected by this narcissistic control as I gradually without realizing it fell into his preferences and desires. Narcissists also put people on pedestals. It’s another way of feeling special and preventing deeper connection if the narcissist is with someone special.
Sharing your feelings of fragility and how you truly feel, encourages the narcissist to feel more caring and compassionate. Voice the importance of your relationship and your own feelings to distinguish the narcissist who can change from one who can’t. If the narcissist can’t change, the addiction to their narcissism has taken over their lives. If you cannot take these risks of being vulnerable with your narcissist, then the relationship isn’t safe and you should leave.
If your narcissist can change, show them the benefits of consideration, collaboration, understanding, mutual respect and caring. Echoists must protect themselves by creating boundaries and making requests. Secure love and caring relationships protect us from unhealthy narcissism. Healthy narcissism unlocks authentic passion allowing the rewards of genuine intimacy. Of course echoists and narcissists are attracted to one another and can make a pretty good pair if they meet in the middle.
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2015 Best Writing by POC. Everyone should read!
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Oh Great Mother!
Remover of Fear!
Bestower of Fortune!
This is the way it is!
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CRIMINAL CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
I was filling out my third form for the American Civil Liberties Union. They asked how were my rights violated. I thought I better do some research before I write my answer to that question. I’m really glad I did. Up until now there was just a real bad feeling about the subject of my lawsuit. After my petition asking the Supreme Court for protection was denied I began wondering if my appeal would be too. Now I know why I must continue going forward with it. Now I understand why the good ole boy club is fighting me so hard. So, what are civil rights and how were mine violated?
Civil Rights are personal liberties belonging to an individual owing to her status as a resident of a community; like the one I lived in rural Newton County Arkansas. Civil Rights legislation applies when the personal preferences and prejudices of an individual, business or government interfere with protected rights of others. This is like the good ole boy club trying to run me out of my community by taking away my home. Civil Rights laws make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap or national origin. Discrimination that interferes with equality of opportunity in housing is illegal. I am a Rainbow Sufi, woman, senior receiving $700/month Social Security Disability, and now homeless.
My Life Estate and non-profit corporation give me certain privileges and immunities encompassing all rights of individuals that relate to people, places, real and personal property. Privileges include all the legal benefits of living in the United Sates such as freedom to rent or sell land and freedom to attempt to recover a business investment. See, I invested my $55,000 inheritance from my mom into the Life Estate and non-profit. Immunities are the protections guaranteed by law to prevent the government and other people from hindering another’s enjoyment of her life. Such as having the sheriff come unannounced to remove me physically, by force if necessary, from my home on Labor Day of this year at 3 pm.
Let’s look at a little bit of history! The Life Estate was instituted before the Civil War. After the Civil War new laws were necessary for the purpose of extending liberties to former slaves. The Life Estate had previously meant the recipient could live there the rest of her life. This was determined after the Civil War to be “Indentured Servitude” and therefore the Life Estate was changed to mean the recipient is entitled to all rights and privileges of property ownership. For example, it is clearly illegal for the giver of my Life Estate to tell any employee of mine to leave my property.
In 1865 the 13th Amendment to the Constitution made slavery and other forms of involuntary servitude unlawful. In 1886 the 14th Amendment to the Constitution allows all US citizens Due Process of Law. This means legal proceedings are fair. One is given notice of proceedings and opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one’s life, liberty or property. Due Process is also a constitutional guarantee that the law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious. I had to look that up. Capricious means given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior. This is like the judge accepting all my evidence and sustaining all my objections in the hearing; then 9 months later making such as capricious and brutal judgement as to have me evicted from my home.
The 14th Amendment is also a constitutional guarantee of Equal Protection. No person or class of person shall be denied the same protection of the laws that are enjoyed by other persons in like circumstances, in their lives, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness. This means that a member of the good ole boy club does not have any more legal power, pull or sway than I do.
The 13th and 14th Amendments allowed for the first Civil Rights laws. These were 1) EQUAL RIGHTS. 2) Equal rights to own, inherit, rent, purchase and sell real property including personal. I was surprised by the title of the third. 3) The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1872 provides citizens the right to bring civil action for violations of protected rights. Criminal Civil Rights violations refer to an offence that occurs as a result of force, including hate crimes, migrant worker exploitation, law enforcement misconduct, religious interference, or terroristic threatening.
The most recent law resulting from the 13th and 14th Amendments is called Affirmative Action. It enforces sex classifications when necessary to correct past discriminatory patterns. Arkansas is a stronghold of the KKK to this day and continues NOT to grant the Equal Rights Amendment for woman. As a lifelong feminist I am prepared to stick up for myself against the good ole boy system and its renowned judicial corruption in Newton and Boone Counties. I am inspired that not only am I due substantial compensation for my damages; but that my case will set a precedent for women and minorities in Arkansas.