Chapter 21: The Modern Narcissist
Empress & Her Spectacle: The Modern Narcissist
The story of Narcissus is one told in many of classes, but what about the stories of modern narcissists. After reading through "The Narcissist Next Door" by Jeffrey Kluger. I thought i might bumble through my analysis and experience of narcissism.
While I studied psychology and live its social truths on a regular basis, I am not a licensed psychologist at all. I only play one on Tumblr, and I suppose now my blog. Point is, I muse about topics and themes that are studied in psychology. I'm not a licensed professional but the way my emotional labor is taxed on the regular its beginning to feel like maybe I should be Dr. Pink Jade. Overtime psychology, as an academic study, paired well with my ambition to be a writer. While pondering over all things "Narcissism", it would be remiss to not bring up how ridiculous it is a large portion of the previous generation assumes millennials are narcissists. Forgetting the idea of how they raised sociopaths to lead the business world, and dictate our politics. We aren't here to talk about the failings of the grandparents and parents of millennials. If I was, then I'm sure my inbox would explode in negativity. Perhaps me assuming that in its own was is a branch not too far off from narcissism. While reading and reviewing a lot on narcissism and the experience people have when dating or even interacting with narcissists. I have to agree with a Twitter troll and say some people use this word a little too liberally in association with their exes.
Millennials, Narcissism, & Whack Exes: It's not you it's me...
There is a misconception about social media being the place that creates narcissism when the reality is social media attracts narcissism. Too many near the end of their wonderful lives people place blame on social media when there were systems in place before it got there. Systems that many wonderful people benefited from to the detriment of minorities. The fun thing to think about is social media created spaces for these systems to get global and exaggerated faster in our society. Social media is a just a space that our problems exist under a public accessed lens. Reading that social media attracts but does not create narcissism really solidified that perhaps people need a better understanding of where narcissists really shine.
Shocked and appalled, I challenged myself to consider how I viewed the people i once readily labeled as narcissists instead of just regular grade assholes. Narcissists within a dating space or engaging in romantic scandalous endeavors are not as easily spotted. They are the dragon types of Pokemon that while blatant and obnoxious we still want desperately. Reading through the author's explanation of what narcissism looks like in dating I was severely heartbroken to realize how right I was in hindsight, and how ridiculously stupid I was in the past. I had the dramatic cinematic presentation of looking like a fool and realizing it a little too late. For one sexual intimacy with a narcissist might be the best you've ever had. Consider a moment you slept with an emotional assassin without realizing your whole life will get snatched, dragged, and left to rot in your own bed because let's be honest that partner won't keep you once they are through with you. In the minefield of romance, narcissists are the monsters that rescue you out of the dating game. They approach with this idea that you the future bed mate or partner are expendable and forgettable.
Me being me, I'm reading along thinking "How can I be forgettable" chuckling to some raunchy music, only to read further and start frowning. When our beautiful charming monster chooses the new bed mate or partner. That partner being you, there is this feeling of shock and awe that they even deemed you worthy of choosing. That first conversation with our Modern Narcissus feels like a smooth delectable cream. To the point that you might realize it's not cream you're slurping on, its expired orange juice with a soda fizzle in your mouth. Why? Well for one, it's only you contributing energy to the conversations. Only you. Take that in. They aren't listening but because you might be the one talking or sharing it feels like a conversation that's buttery smooth. They aren't even listening to you, yes they exist in the space, but they are gone farther than Buzz Lightyears' dreams in Toy Story. Merely a perception of attentive listening. Finally while back in the den of sin, sexual exploits might be hot and heavy. To the point of reckless exhausting activity, that as the target you don't believe this experience is worthy of you.
There's a pattern in place. One that kicks in at the first charming smile. The hunt. The hot sex. Slow disinterest. Wandering eyes. Lying and cheating. Sexual disinterest in you. Angry accusatory words. You're alone. They are with someone else.
The problem with this is, not every asshole who slept with you is this type of human being. For one there is a key triad of traits that make up the person's talking about. Narcissism, impulsive thrill-seeking, and exploitative tendencies. All intermingling in dangerous emotionally violent or abusive ways. It is never your fault in the aftermath of a narcissist stepping out the door into another bed. It just feels that way. All the questions you asked in regards to "what is wrong with me" have one answer. Nothing. Successful narcissists have a lot of sex, and typically romantic narcissism knows no gender boundaries. Whats odd about our modern Narcissus is that tricky golden period.
Turns out, narcissists perform fidelity better. Why? Purely because of obtuseness and a lack of insecurity. It's a confusing mess, one moment you think everything is going well and you mean the world to your partner. The next thing is you're stuck in a loop of fault finding within yourself as they hunt for disqualifying flaws in you. For them, a partner must always enhance. Once that's gone all this lack of intimacy and caring is gone and replaced with lying to self-enhance.
Narcissism Level up:
So, not every person who charmed their way into your life is a narcissist. It doesn't mean you haven't come across them. They tend to be successful in romance or business. Both places and environments that encourage self-enhancement. I thought a lot about the people I labeled. Only two fit the script. However only one, i would say is successful in their narcissism. Still, its all theory. That is the problem, in the same space, I can't guarantee I know now which person who is a narc on sight. My vision and understanding of the world are still small in the grand scheme of things. I can say I am wary. Diligent in monitoring signs that show me to be careful. It is a shame that I'm easily befuddled and swept into the lives of people who approach me in the manner of pick up artists. My kind heart hates hearing anyone put themselves down or even view me more than I am. It is a big neon sign of easy pickings. It's dangerous even. I've encountered the aftermath of the danger now a little too much. Being wary is hard on the soul. Still, a little knowledge goes a long way. I shared what i read, learned, and experienced. This is a lesson to be mindful. Not everyone who talks to you is a blessing. Not every charming stranger is worth taking home or in the back of a car. You've leveled up with some knowledge so hopefully, your block button is queued for the modern narcissists. Just promise you don't go throwing the label around because that's how people glorify and misunderstand a problem that actually does a lot of damage in our societies undercurrents. Trust your instincts, and be mindful of your conversations. You are more than worthy of love, and no you should not be treated like a treasure map for flaws.