There’s a lot out there that you can read about Narcissists. I recently read something about introverted narcissists and their traits. It’s hard to pinpoint who is what as we are all probably bits of this and that and the difference is when someone tends to have a great deal of narcissistic traits so that they stand out.
In my own family I wonder about the undiagnosed mental illnesses going on. Having the stress of being quarantined added onto an already underlying issue may amp things up quite a bit in all families.
I’ve read too many sad stories lately about abuse seeming to escalate due to the lockdown. Frustration and anger being taken out too often on helpless children and animals. It is beyond sad and more often than not I can’t even read past the headline. The sadness in the world can be overwhelming.
When things happen beyond our control, it can make you feel out of control inside as well. I always compared times of no control to beating the dust out of a rug on the clothesline and seeing all of the dust particles flying around willy nilly with no place to call home. That’s how life can feel sometimes. Like everything around you is taking off and it’s all you can do just to hang on and let it happen until things settle down.
It’s good to be able to put things down on paper and to be able to say that someone is drinking because they are an alcoholic and they have an addictive personality because they didn’t get the love and approval they needed when they were young. It’s good to understand what you are dealing with. But it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change how it makes you feel to love that person or to fear that person or to feel hatred or to have to understand that you simply do not have any control over what someone else chooses to do or how they choose to act.
Due to the coronavirus, for maybe the first time in my life, I have been able to take care of my mother. To be able to do something for her. She lives alone and is not comfortable using the computer. So I have been doing her shopping for her. And I call her and I check on her and I talk to her dog over the phone and I have tried to teach her how to use the computer and to write things down to remember. And it feels good to be able to help her. She is stubbornly independent. And I worry about her “going rogue” because she insists on not depending upon others and the lady across the street orders her own groceries. But after her telling me that she had to enter her social security number numerous times trying to enter Google…..but then was not sure what she entered, I worry. I do. I worry that she is going to get into something she doesn’t understand and not ask questions before proceeding.
And although these times may exacerbate what was already there lying underneath the surface, I realize that I have often felt emotionally pummeled in my life trying to take care of people and not being able to. Or being punished for trying to.
And it’s difficult to pin down emotional give and take between people sometimes. Especially if you are not allowed to have feelings. The line begins to blur between their issues and yours.
So it begins not to matter if someone is bi-polar or alcoholic or has no sexual boundaries or thinks it’s okay that you go out with someone who beat you up in high school because they’ve probably “changed”. Get over yourself, don’t take things so seriously, you slut, tell me all your secrets so I can tell everyone else, I will leave you if you don’t do what I say…..but I was never “violated”. And your feelings crawl quietly into a corner because having them seems to make things worse.
That’s what’s really important to me. Not what someone else’s issues are, but that I am able to acknowledge that my feelings are okay. That I can determine my own reality and what I feel is right for me. That despite feeling emotionally pummeled by others, I can separate my feelings and my reality so that I don’t begin to accept other people’s feelings and what they say and do and allow it to overpower my own judgement and self-respect.
Because predators look for people who look for validation from others. People who think that being “good” means to stuff their own feelings down so that they can catch all of the dust as it flies off of the beaten blanket before things spin too far out of control. Stuff down your own feelings while holding onto everyone else’s until the only feelings you recognize as your own are….fear, self-loathing, and anxiety.