What happens on their end of your interaction with a narcissist - Part 2
Continued from the previous post, which ended with the point that narcissists identify with their image instead of their true, inner selves.
An image has but virtual reality. It is but a representation of something, a thing that may, or may not, be real. Your image is a work of art that you carve out by the impression you make on others.
In other words, she identifies with her image as her self. But where is it? It is but an apparition that she can see (can know, connect with, relate to) only as her reflection in the behavior of others. How's that for an identity crisis?
This is why NPD is aptly characterized as a "disorder of the self."
We all need constant contact with our self. That's where our center of consciousness resides. Within. That's where we experience our existence.
Unless we're a narcissist, that is. I don't know about you, but it gives me the creeps to just imagine becoming something outside myself, a mere picture out there in the ether that appears momentarily, now and then, as my reflection in the mirror of someone else's face.
I'd be desperately busy making mirrors reflect me back at me, wouldn't you? And I'd be permanently focused on my reflection in those mirrors, wouldn't you? For, that would be the only way to keep that "me" in seeming existence.
Failure to would be a kind of death, wouldn't it?
Spooky. In other words, this absurd and childish misidentification game that narcissists recklessly and stubbornly play with their minds creates a mental virus of illogic that runs afoul of the deepest, subconscious, inexorable instinct for survival.
Therefore, it misfires to make them desperate to keep that mere image, that mere apparition, that mirage, that nothing in existence. As desperate as you or I would be to save ourselves in a life-threatening situation.
This is why in interacting with a narcissist, you are never really communicating with him or her. The narcissist isn't interacting with you. She's interacting with her own reflected image in your behavior. That's because, while she has your attention, your behavior is a reaction to her. It reflects (on) her.
So, your attention is like a mirror aimed at her. Unfortunately, unlike a real mirror, you can shift your attention wherever you please, and you call for attention in return.
That won't do. That doesn't solve her existential problem. To be, in the ever-present tense, she needs your attention fixed on her, and she needs her attention fixed on her reflection in that mirror.
Indeed, who pays any attention to a mirror? We pay attention only to our image in a mirror.
Who expresses themselves to a mirror? She does what anyone does before a mirror. She just poses. She tidies her hair. She puts on a becoming face and strikes a flattering pose. The purpose of everything she says and does is to create the most flattering reflection possible.
Of what consideration is the truth in that act? She isn't expressing herself: since everything she does is solely for effect, truth is irrelevant.
In identifying with her reflected image in your reaction to her, she is identifying with a mere caricature of herself. A work of art, a figment of her imagination . . . there behind the Looking Glass.
She is living in a world fiction there. Which is why virtually nothing she tells you is true, at least not in the details, which she edits on the fly to reflect on her as flatteringly as possible.
Like a little child pretending that he is Superman. Can you discuss Saturday afternoon chores with him while he's behind the Looking Glass there in the Land of Pretend?
You can't connect with him there, can you?
Fortunately, a child normally snaps out of it when Mother calls that lunch is ready. But a narcissist is permanently stuck in the Land of Pretend.
Even if she happens to be on a therapist's couch. And it's about time ALL therapists wise up and admit that.
To be continued...
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism