In yesterday’s blog we began looking at whether or not we are a jerk, or if we may be in a relationship with one. We even had a test that we took to determine if we are a jerk most of the time or just occasionally. And lastly, we learned that another name for what we may call a jerk is a narcissist. Now remember that we all have a little bit of the narcissist inside of us. Right? We are all a jerk from time to time, but we are looking at those who live their life focus on getting all the love, all the attention, and will do anything to make it happen. To remind you of what exactly a narcissist is let’s review:
A person with narcissistic personality disorder may:
- React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
- Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
- Have excessive feelings of self-importance
- Lie about or Exaggerate achievements and talents
- Preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, or intelligence.
- Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
- Need constant attention and admiration
- Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
- Have obsessive self-interest
- Pursue mainly selfish goals
I believe that I made it clear in yesterday’s blog post that it is my opinion that you should do your best to avoid relationships with the high level narcissist. And I’m not just talking about intimate relationships, but any form of a relationship. I personally would also avoid hiring them or working for them if at all possible, but let’s not focus on others. What about the small, medium, or large narcissist inside of each of us? We all have a few of the traits, and that is why getting older can be so difficult. Warning: in the next paragraph we move toward those of us in midlife, but you twenty and thirty somethings stick around you will need this advice before you know it!
In our younger years we may have gotten a lot of attention for our appearance, athletic abilities, and the list can go on. This is true for both men and women. Remember walking into a restaurant or bar and had no problem getting good service, because the person on the other side of the counter wanted to flirt with you? And do you remember going to the gym and wearing something that showed as much skin as possible, because you were proud of how you looked? And if you really go back to the day…think about high school. Some of you reading this were the hot item on campus.
All the things I just mentioned lead us to have at least a little narcissism in us. And then midlife hits and the attention begins to fade, and we feel hurt. Dr. Joseph Burgo says it like this:
In later life, when others stop looking, we naturally experience it as a narcissistic injury, as if it means that we are no longer “beautiful” and important. Even people who have never traded on their looks will find this experience painful to some degree.
I’m not going to say much more today about this topic, but I will in the next few days. I do want to leave you with an interesting question which is, “Have you mourned the loss of your youth?” For some of you reading this that question may not make sense to you, but some of you get me. You are constantly reflecting back to the days of your youth, and then you fast forward to the person you see in the mirror today. And like me, you are asking, “What the hell happened?” Let me recommend that you begin journaling or sharing your thoughts about growing older, because that will help with your time of mourning. Yes, I’m saying that some of you are in a time of mourning, and you need to dive in and process it so that you can move on. The world and your family needs to you to get back among the living. I realize you think you are at death’s door, but that isn’t death’s door…that door is leading to a new and wonderful life.