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Is narcissism fixable?

topic posted Wed, January 28, 2004 - 2:12 PM by  ----
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Lonely = fixable through friends and love
Emotionally retarded = fixable through therapy
Narcissism = not fixable
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----
Boston
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  • You just can't see the world very well because you've got an apple hovering in front of your face.
    • Narcissism is healthy function of the mind, just like eating is a healthy function of the body.

      Just as someone can have an eating disorder, so to can someone have a narcissism disorder (where the view of the self and the relationship between the self and others is distorted to the point of dysfuntion.)

      If someone actually has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that's almost impossible to treat. First, because psychologists believe that NPD results from a deep underdevelopment of the ego and not just a minor neurosis or reaction to some simple trauma and secondarily because smart narcissists are incredibly talented at fooling therapists.

      Common everyday narcissism, however, is not so hopeless. If you RECOGNIZE that the problems in your life are at least partially caused by distortions in your self image (distortions which we all have) and you're open to working on those distortions to improve the quality of your life, then there's plenty of hope.

      Everybody's a little neurotic. What fun would the world be if we weren't?
      • ya know i'm finding the key to fighting narcissism is to be active and do stuff you're good at to develop your self-esteem. the only two things standing in the way is one's unwillingness to get up off his ass and do something and the question if you do fail at this activity of whether it was your fault or the people around you.

        and sometimes, it is the people around you because there are more sheep than herdsmen in the world.
        • Unsu...
           
          They say happiness happens when you do something that makes you forget yourself. I firmly believe that it is important to your development as a person to be self-aware, to examine our motivations and actions, to be self-vigilant. But beyond being on guard that you are the person that you want to be in terms of your beliefs and ideals, I think you have to do things that are self-less, focus on the rest of the world, forget your 'self.' In the Tao Te Ching, it says that deeds are done so that the doer vanishes into the deed. Ultimately, Alan is right. Being productive is really good for your self-esteem. If we are productive, there is no time to wallow in our own lonely, narcissistic ways. Okay, I'll shut up now.
          • Unsu...
             
            yes but can being selfless not be simply another form of narcissim on an emotional level? ie: "i'm such a good person"
            • no, because that's not true selflessness. when you do something truely selfless you risk being hurt and rejected by the person you're doing it for, and what you do for someone really doesn't have anything to do with you but maybe their gratitude.

              what's truely sick is when people do things to make others appear that they're a good person. if you came to l.a., you'd run into a lot of these people. i try to tell them "who are you fooling?" but i don't know how. they don't seem to see it as a selfish deed, because in their eyes, they see this as selfless without looking at the word itself.
              • disagree here...martyrs try to be selfless and over ride their own feelings for selfish gains...then they say 'look what i've doen for you'. no one can do anything for someone else without doing equally for oneself and those moments are spontaneous and happen of themselves...


                you have to have a self first...you have to have someone home inside and treat yourself with self respect....and it helps to be able to see ones effect on another person...dont do anything self less...the chinese mean by that being so involved in some activity tht you let go of selfconsciousness that is very different. it means to stop all vanity and fears of presecution and letting go of self doubts and complaints and engaging completly in the moment...being 'there'....living 100%
          • "I think you have to do things that are self-less, focus on the rest of the world, forget your 'self.'"

            You would quickly starve and die. The very act of remaining alive requires no small amount of exclusionary self-interest. Why do you deserve the food and the roof over your head when there are millions without?

            Narcissism is a survival tool.
            • "You would quickly starve and die. The very act of remaining alive requires no small amount of exclusionary self-interest."

              I haven't heard of too many people starving to death because they forgot to eat while pondering the world around them.
              • Not so much nowadays, but old skool Buddhists used to do it all the time.

                The point is that attempting to be completely selfless is just as misguided as shutting everyone else out at the expense of number one. Eating food you like is a selfish act; buying yourself a book or CD is a selfish act. There's nothing wrong with that, but pretending that doing these selfish things for ourselves isn't a normal part of being a healthy member of the human race is simple denial.
                • Unsu...
                   
                  BLah, blah, blah (sad little justifications). It isn't selfless if you think about it all of the time.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.
                    I suppose a distinction has to be made between selflessness in an altruistic sense which can be very self aggrandizing and selflessness in the zen sense which just means forgetting self consciousness and being in the moment.

                    The latter is not a self destructive selflessness all of the time, nor is it enduring. It's more about focus. Like if you bothered to practice a figure skating move so many times that your mind is quiet as you go into a turn, in that moment of execution you may be temporarily free of narcissistic thoughts because your mind is totally focused on the task at hand.

                    I find at work when I get into a routine, and it's not a slow day, and I focus on cranking out as many panels as I can for the shop to fabricate (getting into the fine details of controlling the robot's production, loading the machine, etc.) I can escape the narcissisistic thoughts for hours and the day just flys by. On a slow day, I actually have less to do, more time to think, and Ironically I might even make more mistakes because my mind might not be so completely focused on the task as it would be on a busy day. Not to mention, time crawls.

                    Staying busy may help with narcissism, but only temporarily.
                    • yeah i get the same thing. i love it when it's busy. and sometimes i even yell at my coworkers and bosses to get their attention to help who i'm trying to help but can't. and as long as i'm doing my best, people can bitch all they want because every time there's someone behind them in line who sees i'm doing everything i can, probably better than anyone else could, because i'm focused. zen. cork on the waves.

                      but it's a crappy retail job, and when it's slow, there's nothing to think about but my life and where i wish i was, what i wish i was doing, what i wish i could say to people, what i wish i might have said and if that would make situations worse, etc..

                      maybe narcissism could be fixed by actualizing your inner beauty in real life. incorporate what you have with what you do. and when you have the friends to appreciate that, and the people around you are glad you're on their team, and there's someone who loves you for who you are and who you aren't, and you're proud of what you do, then THERE is your fix for narcissism because it's all around you.
                      • Good luck trying to fix narcissism.

                        I like what you are saying about cultivating inner beauty. I personally don't beleive I can overcome narcissism at all but I can learn to find happiness, find beauty in my life, and cultivate beauty withing myself regardless of my helplessness over the apparent personality disorder.

                        As far as you're retail job. Please take this advice at least... apply for a commercial construction job if you can handle the strength part of the job, or for waitering if you can handle the pressure. I worked retail a while, in construction I have twice as much pay and half as much stress. Wouldn't normally give unsolicited advice but in your case you have made it quite clear you do not like your current job.

                        Just if you do consider construction stay back from residential construction (Particularly roofing), entry pay in that is only about 10-12hr and the workload is backbreaking. Just try walking up with a package of roofing tile over your shoulder up a ladder 60 times a day and you'll see what I mean. There are much better jobs in industrial construction/shop work/ fabrication/ pipe fitting/ even plumbers assistant if you don't mind getting a bit dirty. Really, anything is better than retail, I'd rather do a week of fixing toilet pvc to sewer drainpipes than deal with bitchy impatient customers all day long with no respect for clerks.

                        Fecal matter is more tolerable than some customers.
                        • Unsu...
                           
                          One word- PLUMBING. When I was a plumber, I was making $75,000 a year. Which makes me wonder now why I ever got a fucking degree. FUnd your art my friend. If I didn't have rugrats that required my constant attention to brainwash with my particular brand of political propaganda I'd still be doing it. Being a single mother sucks.
                          • sorry to hear that revo :(

                            retarius, your advise has been nothing but helpful so far. feel free to take the liberty anytime. same with you revo.

                            well i've become accustomed to customers. actually i can be quite intimidating to bitchy customers. to friendly people, i'm friendly back. to irrationally angry customers, i tell them why they're wrong. to justly angry customers, i try to help the situation and if i can't, they usually see that there's so much i can do and it doesn't get to me. if they're still pushing, when they're gone i usually have a laugh with the customer behind them. and sometimes, just sometimes karma goes back to the bitchy customer...like the register computer, seriously, being incooperative and making them stand there as i try ways around the logical way that it's preventing me from...which is a project and again, i like projects.

                            this is temporary. as soon as i get a car, i'll maybe work 10-15 hours there because the rest of my rent will be paid with my paid internship. but time is ticking. i need a car. its hard to save and have any fun on days off with this pay. maybe i could budget better. actually i could budget better. but i'm lazy. so it's fun or car/life, fun or car/life. hmmm.
                            • Wow, you are less of a narcissist than I, I realize that as you describe your dealing with customers.

                              My mentality was to do my job as well, and as fast as possible, because I hate waiting on line, I figured other customers want fast service like I do.

                              I found nice customers a pleasure, and the majority of self absorbed customers no problem. But my narcissism usually flared to amazing heights whenever I was treated disrespectfully by a customer, especially if responding back in a disrespectful way would have led to my dismissal.

                              my internal dialogue was "HOW DARE they talk to ME like THAT!" and I'd dwell on the tragedy that as a superior being I was wearing an apron and probably in what Americans would consider to be the lowest possible caste of society... with no power to dish it back.

                              I had to get out before it tore me up inside.
  • whats to say that already hasn't been said?
    Narcissism isn't something you acquire with experience, it isn't something to strive for, and it isn't something fixable.

    Like one of the earlier commenters stated, Narcissism in it's truest manifestation is something totally different than what the creator of this community had in mind. Not to put down the purpose of this entertaining tribe, but Narcissism is no laughing matter. Narcissistic people are engrained with an insecurity that is indefinable to them.

    What we think of narcissism is simply a matter of conscience. It is easily reversed with a little forethought. It a normal human habit and one that can be easily unlearned through a little behavior modification. Whenever you feel you're about to do something selfish... think about it. Stop and think what will this accomplish, what will i get out of it, and why is that so important?

    True narcissim is a whole other ball of wax in deed.
    • Absolutely.

      My soon to be ex husband is a true narcissist.

      It has cost him his wife, his home, a day to day relationship with his children and very likely will cost him his job if and when his activities come to light.

      It's not really a joke at all.

      With intensive therapy over the course of years, it can be sometimes helped...a little....but it never goes away.

      And with that....I"m off to go play craps. :D

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