I thought this may interest those of you who read my article from April 30, “Another Narcissist Who Wants Help.” It’s a followup email he sent me yesterday, describing some of the things he’d doing to attempt to heal himself from NPD or at least be able to control its symptoms better.
* I do have some doubt he actually has NPD though, due to what appears to be a normal level of empathy and a lot of self-awareness; I think he may be being too hard on himself and suffers instead from something like BPD. He also has no official diagnosis.
All that being said, what this young man is trying to do and has dedicated himself to doing –opening himself to being vulnerable and letting himself feel and share his honest emotions–is incredibly courageous, especially for someone as young as he is (he’s in his early-mid 20s). He’s also doing his homework–he seems to be doing a LOT of reading about NPD, if this email is any indication. He may not actually be a narcissist, but even so, it’s still a courageous thing he’s doing. Any of us who suffer from being too guarded–which is most of us–can benefit by giving ourselves permission to just feel life in its glorious spectrum of colors.
I can tell this young musician is sincere because he’s been watching all of Brene Brown’s videos . In fact he is the person who tweeted about Brown’s compassionate and sometimes humorous messages of being authentic and vulnerable in a world that hates and fears those things. If you take on the challenge of setting yourself free of whatever traps you– whether it’s a narcissistic mask or the fear that fuels so many other disorders — it takes a lot of strength and courage to do that. Which means becoming vulnerable isn’t becoming “weak” at all — it’s just becoming an authentic human being.
I have permission to repost the email I got, removing personal details like names.
Original email is in this post: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/04/30/another-narcissist-who-wants-help/
Email received 6 weeks later (yesterday)
[…]It’s not really a bad thing to share how we are feeling – in fact NOT sharing how I feel is probably one of my biggest downfalls. So it is healthy to express your emotions to someone, wherever they’ve come from. If you’re feeling emotionally down, or wounded it’s worth remembering one of my favourite quotes by Iyanla Vanzant (you’d love her when she talks about relationships check out her appearances on Oprah’s Lifeclass she’s awesome) which is that ‘a wound needs a witness’ – meaning it is in our nature as humans to want to share our feelings. The worst part of narcissism is it leads the narcissist to detach from their true feelings, and results in the narcissist viewing emotions in others as weak. I could imagine that belief that emotions are weak can be contagious but we weren’t put on earth to suppress ourselves, but express ourselves! So remember your feelings are a huge part of who you are so I don’t think you should deny them, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to express them (even if I have been trying to silence mine for years ha!)
I hope you’re doing well – I’ve been immersed in personal exploration lately. The book ‘The Drama of the Gifted Child’ has been fascinating for me and I’d thoroughly recommend it (or maybe it was you who recommended it to me?) if you want to better understand the origins of narcissism. Much of it resonated with me and it’s a very hopeful and forgiving text. I understand it’s one of the main books on the subject. I’m moving on now to a book called Disarming the Narcissist which is interesting because even though it’s from the point of view of someone living with a narcissist in their life it helps me see how I can better inter-relate with the people in my life.
I’ve kinda realised that the worst parts of narcissism don’t actually manifest themselves in my life at large: I have healthy and thriving friendships. I’m not going to lie and say I am not centre of attention a lot because I am, but I’m here for my friends when they need me and I’m working on being even more available emotionally and otherwise in the future. I don’t think I’m ‘cured’ but I am aware that the extremes of my difficult qualities tend to bubble up tot he surface only in relationships where consistent intimacy is expected. So basically romantic relationships. That’s not to say the work I’m doing on myself isn’t important across my life but it certainly is most relevant when I’m in love, because it is in those times my frequent emotional detachment becomes a problem. Detachment from my own feelings means I am longer able to experience the feelings of those around me, which in time results in me objectifying them and treating them less than well.
Interestingly music has been important for me too. I haven’t really lay down in bed with the lights down low on my own with a great album on in the background in so long. I think listening to music keeps me connected to my emotional experiences and helps draw out my true feelings. Maybe that’s what happened with you before you drafted that post? I think it’s a good thing. Music is, of course, the feelings of other people and we feel connected to the human experience by listening to and enjoying it.
Oh and Brene Brown! What a gem! I’ve downloaded her book Daring Greatly (think that’s its name) and can’t wait to get started. I feel that book is gunna be a proper uplifting read, and with the summer kicking in here now I’m looking forward to reading in the sun in Hyde Park with a gin and tonic and some olives! Yay!