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Friday, May 30, 2014


I can't get something out of my head.

Hence I'm here. That's what this place is for.

I want to write today a bit about narcissism, and the modern, pop culture-y notion of it, which I just discovered exists.

Its has come to my attention that the general population has is ridiculous idea that narcissists are insecure people. The type that posts selfies all day. The social climbers. People who want constant affirmation of their beauty or awesomeness or whatnot. There are others who blame all the worlds ills on the narcissist. They see any power play as narcissism, they see anyone wronging another as narcissism.

To the public, all self interested are narcissists. On the same note, anyone begging for attention is as well.  The general view is that they are horrible people.

This is not narcissism. It is in most cases insecurity, they got that much correct.

All human beings are self interested. If we weren't, we wouldn't be here. People forget this because we are social animals. The truth is the most giving good Samaritans motives can be distilled down to self interest.

This isn't a bad thing, it just makes self interest as a personality trait that doesn't span everyone a moot argument. Its a constant.

Insecurity comes from poor self esteem and typically poor personal boundaries. These things are the exact OPPOSITE of narcissistic traits.

Narcs KNOW they are awesome and don't need anyone to tell them so. They don't need people to tell them they are beautiful or smart or your pleasure of choice. They KNOW.

Know down in their soul with such depth that if you told them otherwise they would laugh or think you were ignorant or delusional.  Imagine knowing you are awesome to the same extent you know what color your skin is, or your address. It becomes a fixed fact. Its objective.

Remember the "your special" messages that we drill into kids? We do this so kids grow up to be adults with character, identity and a sense that they are valuable. This prevents kids from being abused. This prevents teenagers from offing themselves. This makes adults grow into people who aren't obsessing over what everyone thinks about them. These messages are an attempt to get narcissistic traits into children not born that way.

They don't need to post selfies with that perfect pose. They already know they look good, or they know that they don't, and don't care, because hey, they are awesome anyway.

When someone treads on them in anyway, they object, sometimes vehemently, because they don't deserve that kind of treatment. They know that they deserve respect and insist upon it.

Its like someone took the self esteem dial and turned that volume up. Way up.

Like any of the human temperaments, there are pros and cons to such traits.

 After all, we grow up in a world were people are meek and allow themselves to be abused by others. We grow up hating our bodies or our appearance in general.

We grow up into adults that get walked on and have to take a gazzilion selfies to try and prove to themselves that they aren't ugly.

Not the narcissist. they don't have to do this dance. The dance of trying to fill the empty void of personal self worth with pretty pictures or tons of friends to convince themselves that they have value.

Think of it in the introvert extrovert context. Neither is wrong or bad, they are simply temperaments. The typical person draws self worth from the environment and the narcissist draws that self worth from within.

Also, like any of the human temperaments, there is a spectrum.

The extreme, volume turned to the max of this temperament is where you got a bonafide personality disorder. These are people who are generally speaking manipulative and will take advantage of weak people. These behaviors destroy the lives of the people around them, who, with no personal boundaries refuse to say no. They have tremendous self interest and little empathy.

Typically the type of narcissim that is a problem is known as "grandious". These are the types that end up thinking they are jesus and starting cults. These people are ill. They people are so self absorbed you cannot miss them in the dark.

 Personally I think alot of these types are a product of nurture more than nature, perhaps they were genetically mild but were raised in situations where they were never told NO, or taught morals that would forbid using people so blatantly. I have similar feelings about some aspy individuals who refuse to join society because its "too hard". If raised in a household were they were never forced out of comfort, comfort becomes the only acceptable reality. But I'm on a tangent now.

 But its like any human trait. Dial it waaay up you get issues. Dial it way down and you get different issues.  However, there is always a sweet spot.

To me, a healthy person had a good sense of self worth, and good personal boundaries. They are confident and not arrogant. They work to better themselves because they know it will only add to their awesomeness. They have empathy, but not at the expense of their self.

From Psychology today;

" Popular conceptions tend to emphasize the exaggerated version of narcissism, particularly when the narcissism is extreme enough to justify a diagnosis of the personality disorder. However, by focusing on the disorder alone, these depictions fall short of the mark. A moderate amount of the right kind of narcissism can actually be beneficial to well-being.  In fact, researchers have identified the quality of adaptive narcissism. People with a good dose of adaptive narcissism can be self-sufficient, able to assume positions of leadership, and self-confident. They seem better able to cope with anxiety, particularly in social situations."

Those people posting non stop, no context selfies; They have this condition.  They aren't narcissists, stop calling it that, because honestly,  its insulting.

If that makes me a horrible person. So be it.

 I'm may not be perfect. But damn it. I'm awesome anyway.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Parkinson's Law

"Expenditure rise to meet the income available."
When I was a kid, my bestest bestie friend in the world was Andrea. We spent most of childhood and young adulthood together before she decided I was too mature for her and I realized she was never going to grow up.
My parents gave us allowances, small ones. Mine was $7 a week for many years and it eventually bumped up to $12, briefly before I got my first job at 15. At which point it vanished.
Andrea grew up in a single parent household with lots of siblings. My family was considered middle class and hers was considered poor, but I never really saw any difference in our abilities to get through life and the day. The only thing that reminded us of her "poverty" were not the lack of things, but the lack of attention paid to things. After all, mom had to work, which meant she had little time for grocery shopping, yard work or cleaning.
The house always had stuff in it, lots of stuff, new furniture, new decorations. The kids had new clothing and toys. I remember Andrea always  had the coolest new clothes and interesting things for her room. Her mom regularly bought her and her siblings things or just gave them large amounts of cash (granted usually for xmas or a b-day).  My parents would screen the things I bought, esp clothing, and her mother did not.
Several red flags waved in my face during our friendship. The first was when we were kids. We both were obsessed, I mean absolutely obsessed with legos. She had a large collection when I met her, and I had one measly bin. This gap decreased and I overtook her collection dramatically in just a couple years. I saved all my pennies for legos, asked for them for xmas and birthdays. She did the same, except for the saving part.
We would walk to the mall and I'd but a small set at Kaybee toys. She would blow her entire wad of money at The Sweet Factory.
This would have been fine and dandy except she began to become upset that I had "more" things than her. I would point out that she was eating her money in candy and she didn't want to hear it. She just wanted to go on and on about how privileged I was and how she had nothing.
This taught me early on that happiness and wealth is a matter of perception rather than an actual dollar amount. Andrea always wanted more, more, more and was never happy with what she had. She also spent her money on silly things. As kids it was candy, as adults it was still candy and overpriced make up and clothes. She was never satisfied. She'd also blow her entire paycheck and then complain she didn't have money to eat and it was never her fault. Granted, as I learned to budget as an adult I occasionally overspent and had to scrape by for nessessities. But I never, unless I was unemployed, starved or spent so much money I had to beg and guilt others to feed me.
I often wonder if shes still stuck in the endless cycle of buy (stupid things) and be broke, buy and broke, buy and broke. I know I learned a lot from watching her over the years, and learned a lot about myself in the process.  I can only hope she came to an realization at some point that true happiness is from within and not the mall.