NARCISSISM: “It's All About Me”
by Susan Bickel, MA
Are you in a romantic relationship with a narcissist? Were you raised by a narcissist? Is one or more of your friends a narcissist? Are you so self-absorbed that you could be classified as a narcissist yourself?
We live in a culture that has been described as the “Me Generation”. Ugh! If we were consciously aware of the destruction that narcissists and their behavior cause, we would not take this defect lightly.
Narcissists can be very seductive, charismatic and charming, and often have the appearance of showing great promise for relationship. They give the impression that they think they are special, and we feel we can be special by association. They often “sweep you off your feet” in the beginning of a relationship. The only problem is that they do not know how to do committed relationships, and often don't even want to be in committed relationships, regardless of what they say and do in the beginning. Falling in love with a narcissist is one of the easiest things you might do. Growing, maintaining and managing a relationship with a narcissist is pretty much impossible. The narcissist seeshim/herself as so special that the ordinary rules of behavior don't apply to him/her. He/she plays by her own rules, regardless of the impact of her behavior on others.
Narcissism is defined in the dictionary as self-love. So what is wrong with self-love? The word narcissism comes from the Greek myth about Narcissus, who falls in love with his own image in a pool of water. The other player in the story is Echo, who is desperately in love with him. Unfortunately for her, he is so enamored of his own image that he doesn't look away from it to see how much she adores him. He never even notices her and eventually dies looking at his own image.
This absorption with self at the exclusion of other people's needs is what separates narcissism from plain old-fashioned selfishness. It is self-love run amok. The narcissist is incapable of extending self-less love towards others, and no doubt needs professional help.
There are things you can do to protect yourself from narcissists. If you were raised by a narcissist you inevitably are confused about love and friendship. By examining yourself and your family history you can learn the tools to attract healthier relationships into your life.
Are you a narcissist? Probably not, because a narcissist would not be interested in reading this article!
Susan Bickel MA, is a psychotherapist at People House. 720-935-1289.