Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's All About Me

My therapist recently moved away, so I'll be on the hunt for a new one here soon. But one of the things he told/taught me in one of our last sessions that really has had a lasting impact is that I am a narcissist. Not the kind of narcissist that has to look in a mirror every time he walks by, or that lives at the gym, tanning salon, or spa doing seaweed wraps or any of that bullshit HAHA. I am narcissist in the fact I ALWAYS put myself first and think about and place my wants and my needs before others'. He said my narcissism may have developed when I had to build defense mechanisms in my shitty adolescence b/c of all the assholes that destroyed my self-esteem and self-worth. I learned to judge who I can/cannot trust, who is/isn't of "use" to me, and who does/does not fulfill some role or need in my life.

He went on to say that everyone that comes in my life immediately goes through a special filter I have in place. This filter helps me weed out those who A) have a need in my life; or B) are simply chaff in the whirlwind. HAHA Most likely this filter is a 'trust' filter. After the person makes it through the filter I then categorize them depending on what role they will play in my life or what need they will fulfill; almost like a game of chess. Every person fulfills some role. I'm not going to write about each and every category and sub-category...suffice to say I have my chessboard filled the way I want and need it to be.

The other day at lunch I had some friends reiterate what my therapist had said: that I am a narcissist. This started me thinking again about my therapy session a few weeks back, which is leading me to write this post. I have had to stop and think "am I truly as narcissistic as everyone around me says I am?" And the obvious answer? Yep.

In past posts I've written about how difficult it is for me to feel empathy for other individuals. I know empathy can be slightly circumstantial, but on the whole I have a hard time "feeling" for others. Someone gets in an accident, or loses a job, or has health issues, and I say "oh that's too bad. I'm so sorry." But sometimes I feel like I'm just acting and saying the words of condolence just because I have to. I really hate that. And the stress and panic I feel when I'm 'acting' the part! Holy shit! Am I coming across genuine enough? Can they tell I'm just acting? Arg. I do wish I could truly be more genuine and FEEL more emotion, love and compassion for others.

There's a line in my favorite TV show "The Golden Girls" when one of the girls is panicking and sobbing b/c she thinks she has had her car stolen from the driveway. When she tells another one of the girls the response she gets is one of unbelief and no sympathy what-so-ever and a bit of harshness. She says "you sure could practice a little more compassion" to which the other responds "catch me on a day when the story's about me." That sure sums me up pretty well.

Everyone who I'm close to well knows that I won't do anything I don't want to do. I won't go anywhere I don't want to go. I won't watch, eat, or play anything I don't want to. If I'm forced out of my comfort zone, I get extremely pissy and sour (e.g. home teaching, b-day parties, etc). It's hard for me to get out of my own fucking head and to stop worrying about MYSELF for 5 minutes. Pretty pathetic.

Interesting facts I just read this morning on my Yahoo news feed: "Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority, while also projecting displays of arrogance and vanity," according to the American Psychiatric Association. "One of the key traits of pathological narcissists is their clear lack of empathy", says Stefan Röpke, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin in Germany. "Generally, these patients are able to recognize what others feel and think, but outwardly exhibit little compassion."  Hmmmm, so who does this sound like? These researchers say the lack of empathy is due to a lower volume of gray matter in the brain. Is this why much of my life I feel like I'm in a fog? HAHA How exactly does one build/grow gray matter? Any thoughts on what I can do to begin feeling and caring more for others and to get over myself?

  

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