Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Narcissus is the Creator of the Universe

In my last post I touched on something that reminded me of one of the weirdest things about narcissists. It's something I had always noticed about one before I knew there was such a thing as a narcissist. It is a little telltale sign in their behavior that doesn't seem like much, but it is huge, because it indicates that something is dreadfully wrong.

A narcissist is the author of a novel, not an inhabitant of the world the rest of us share.

So, like I said, narcissists don't accept reality. They doctor it on the fly. They actually edit it as it's occuring. So, for example, if you're trying to get through to a narcissist and he doesn't like what you just said, he alters it in his mind, so that you said something else.

This is when their pathological lying gets as intolerable as it is bizarre. Though he slapped your face two seconds ago, he is now deying that to your face, saying that you are crazy and imagining things. Yes, YOU, not him.

In other words, narcissists are composing a work of fiction, though they don't invent it from scratch like a novelist does: they just alter what's happening on the fly as it comes in through their eyes and ears.

And they try to make you behave as though their fiction is true.

[Why? Because they are desperate to prevent you from doing anything to threaten their delusions by challenging them in any way. If they say the sky is purple and you act like it's blue, the knowledge that it IS blue might surface to consciousness on them. Thay can't allow that. They repress knowledge of the truth, and they can't have you saying or doing anything to trigger their brain into recalling something want to unknow.]

This is where some of their off-the-wall remarks come from -- from the fantasy about the current moment going on in their heads.

In doing this, they are mentally just little children playing "pretend." As a little child's mind forms, he becomes so delighted in the omnipotence of the magical things it can do to the world he percieves, that he is reckless with it for a few years (until the Age of Reason). He draws no clear distinction between reality and fantasy and prefers the latter.

For example, while pretending to drive a big truck like his Daddy, the child really thinks he is a grown man driving a big truck! We all indulged in such childhood delusions. That's perfectly normal in children discovering and experimenting with that marvellous, powerful, magical organ known as the human mind. Some children's play-acting goes so far that they stubbornly insist that others not contradict their version of the world. We see this, for example, when a child continuously acts-out a script in which he has an imaginary friend and insists that his parents acknowledge that friend's existence.

Normal children grow out of this phase; narcissists don't.

Not that adults CAN'T go into this state: Interestingly, actors who act out a part by pretending to actually be the character they portray -- pretending also that the story is real -- can lose themselves in a character they have playing for too long. Directors actually watch actors for signs of this happening to make sure they get psychological counseling if that starts to happen.

I knew a narcissist so lost in his own little world that he would often take up a conversation with you in the middle. From what he said, you could tell that this conversation had started in his head and that in it you had said something he was now responding to as though you really said it!

Think of the attitude such a person has about the world. They view as something they control, don't they?

That's a mental virus. It screws up their thinking in a million ways. And the fact that they have some wires crossed becomes evident in a million ways.

For, if the world is something they control, then nothing should happen in it without their foreknowledge and allowance, right?

If anything does happen that surprises them and is unacceptable to them, it would challenge their precious delusion that they can control the world exactly like God does.

They mustn't allow that to happen! If it did, all their pretty delusions would come tumbling down.

No kidding. If you are observant, you will notice that no narcissist ever acts like anything surprises them or is unaccpetable to them. When something does surprise them or is unacceptable to them, they MUST pretend that it isn't. Because, they MUST continue to believe that, like God, they create the world, willing what they will to happen in it and allowing what they please to happen in it.

Normal people have no such delusions, so they sometimes find things that happen unacceptable. By that I don't mean that normal people refuse to accept that these things have happened (though they may run a long course of denial before accepting it): I mean that they cannot accept them without a radical re-think of their world view. This isn't common, but it does happen quite often in war and great disasters. We have an example of this during the trial of Joan of Arc. She admitted that, on hearing that all above the age of seven in a French town holding out against the English were to be put to the sword, she had asked how God could allow such a thing to happen. Indeed, many survivors of World War II and the Holocaust became atheists. That's just an extreme example to show that even firmly held beliefs can be shaken by unaccpetable realities.

But never in a narcissist. A narcissist cannot accept that he doesn't control what happens. He doesn't dare accept that. For that would mean that he cannot just edit reality to suit himself. So, he MUST avoid ever admitting that something surprises him or is unacceptable to him. That's how he maintains his pretense that he controls the world. And you will therefore never hear a narcissist finding reality unaccpetable.

Was it a gross injustice? He will blow it off with something like, "Well, they can just do that." Was it something that shouldn't have happened? He will never say that the home team shouldn't have lost that game. In short, he will never allow himself to ACT as though anything has happened that he would have prevented if he could. Why? Because he MUST think/pretend that he can prevent anything, so he must never act as though anything happens against his will. A ramification of that is that he must never act as though anything can happen without his foreknowledge.

So, if you know a narcisisst, you know someone who never acts as though he didn't know a thing was going to happen before it did.

In fact, I have known narcissists to claim foreknowledge of things they couldn't possibly have known ahead of time except through a crystal ball. For example, every time there was an attempted field goal on TV, one narcissist I knew had to predict its outcome before the ball reached the goal line. He just had to. He couldn't wait to see what happened and just let it happen: he had to ACT and FEEL like he controled the event.

It was hilarious to hear him changing his call as the ball flew. His favorite trick was to watch for the official's arms to move either sideways or upward and then instantly blurt "Good" or "No good" as though we couldn't tell he was just reading the official, not prophesying.

That event just could not happen without him controlling it, you see. And every single time he told us that he had known whether the attempt would be good or bad.

Narcissists just can't take surprises. They just can't take not knowing why something happened, either. It drives them crazy. They just can't admit they don't why something happened. They have to convince themselves that they do know why it happened and that it happened as it should have...

...in THEIR universe.

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At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. It's hard to remember when dealing with this stuff that it's the N, not you, that's crazy. This helped.

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes sense. I've decided to stay with NH until the kids are grown, but can no longer stand his touch. We've not had sex in over 4 years and he has not uttered a single complaint or comment. This came as a great surprise to me, since he's always had a high sex drive.

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such a profoundly accurate insight. You've managed to explain, yet again, another aspect of my narcissistic mother to me. She has said to me (and others) so many times "I can't handle surprises" I could hear her voice rattling in my head as I read this blog entry. (She states this with a look of pride because what immediately follows this statement is her claim of ability to know the unknowable.) She has long laid claim to prescience. She "just knows" things that are unknowable. Her claims to knowing usually come after the event so there is no way to verify whether she actually knew something before it happened. As a teenager I set out to prove to myself she didn't know shit. My hunch was verified over and over as I managed to pull off all kinds of things behind her back that she never knew a thing about. Your point is well made. I've witnessed this truth of narcissism with my own eyes. My Nmom is a living example of a narcissist who can never admit to not having perfect foreknowledge and the ability to shape any event she chooses to. It has reached the height of ridiculousness because now she claims that God Himself tells her things ahead of time as a special gift to one who can't handle surprises. The lengths she will go to prove she is all-knowing has reached to levels of insanity, but she still manages to fool some of the people some of the time.


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