What If It Happened To Me?
This is such a wonderfully compassionate, kind, and nuanced approach to this topic. Much needed. The polarizing misunderstandings around this challenge are so rampant, that it is difficult to sort the signal from the noise.
That’s one of the primary purposes of this website. To curate meaningful, productively thought provoking content that is worth your time, and by delivering that curation value, contribute to building communities of value by finding deeper value within ourselves and reflected in our surroundings.
It’s a Spectrum, not a Final Judgement
The spectrum of narcissism – the giving and receiving of narcissistic injuries – is a complicated and widely misunderstood topic. In this podcast, Alan refutes a lot of the oversimplified labels and offers a much-needed and nuanced approach to these culturally metavalent ailments.
It’s deeply ambitious to attempt to put the non-symbolic, non-verbal, passive-aggressive War for Inherent Moral Supremacy under a household roof, into words; but Alan seems very close to achieving the feat, for those with the interest and insight to attend closely.
Like other issues in mental health, our collective denial and avoidance of openly exploring personality disorders, cultivates precisely the kind of out of sight out of mind, twilight, dimmed, darkened, moldy breeding ground that, in general, invites all manner of unpleasant things thrive in.
Sunlight and air are the best medicines, and heaven knows that right now, our civilization could use better, more holistic medicines.
I promise that this is so worth listeneng to, and may be one of the most important themes of public conversation in the 2020’s, if we’re to begin making changes for the better.
Two sides of the same coin
- (05:10) “I’ll simultaneously be folding myself into this too because I understand this process the narcissistic wound which is different from narcissistic abuse which is different from trying to pathologically diagnose someone with a personality disorder it’s not what I’m talking about …”
- (05:40) “it’s that very wound that all of us experienced all of us suffer two sides of the same coin …”
- (07:33) “we’re gonna look at how we all have a narcissistic wound whether or not we call ourselves narcissists whether or not we call ourselves empaths whether or not we call ourselves codependence and I don’t like this language I don’t think it’s helpful …”
- (12:33) “I am going to continue to talk about how that is an an underlying core theme of this misguided unconscious rage this primal rage that is folded into the narcissistic wound and that is then playing out and part of the communities that want to talk about it and so I’ve had a boundary I do not want that energy leaking into the community …”
- (13:07) “the the guiding principle that I endorse is called self-directed healing and really looking at healing as a lifestyle and saying you know we need to take ownership for our own maturing our own our own personal growth and we are continuing to water the seeds of better health and water the seeds of better healthy relating so in order to do that it’s really important to know how some of this residual toxicity and this unknown anger and rage can leak into when we start talking about healing attachment injuries and healing attachment trauma …”
You are not welcome to be you
- (16:24) “chronic stress and anxiety around money and finances, and poverty, and it just creates an environment where the parent is just totally distracted and so your self, you, you are not welcomed to be you … in addition … the environment in some way was potentially hostile to you being yourself, or the environment was so unattentive that you started to question subconsciously your little child mind well there must be something wrong with me, I mean, these people don’t even see me, these people don’t engage me, and this can become really incredibly crazy-making and complex …”
- (19:01) “we must not deserve love, there must be something wrong with me, and all of these core beliefs linked to a really provocative, horrible, nauseating uncomfortable feeling that +there’s something fundamentally wrong with who I am, that I am flawed as a human being and I’m talking about shame …”
- (20:55) “then we just shut down; this complete sense of, well, you know, I guess I can’t even be me and we shut down so much that we don’t even realize we are shut down. We don’t even realize there’s a skill to opening up, we are shut down so much – and here we go here’s a big part of this whole thing I’m talking about – the narcissistic wound creates a false self and that’s how we all then develop, saying, well I can’t be really myself, and when I’ve attempted to have my attachment needs met, and I’ve attempted to connect with my parents in a certain way, and I’ve attempted to want to share who I am, and be vulnerable and open up emotionally … that’s not working … these people are just checked out; these people are distracted; these people are self-absorbed; and remember that word, because it’s a direction that we’re going here; that’s the sort of the link and the crossover with narcissism; that word again … not narcissistic abuse … but this idea about narcissism is this: our development of self was thwarted, so we then need to enter a state of absorption to be able to make choices about what we do next. We can’t don’t really have a freedom or fluidity to know how to let the self just be its self, to let ourselves just to be our selves …”
Everyone has it, and so you … don’t have Permission to Exist
- (23:26) “we can even say that it’s even normal, that it’s really normal to have a narcissistic wound and it’s very easy to make the argument to say everyone has it … in modern culture, we’re living in a very immature psychology …”
- (24:32) “the wound is that, we never had a reference point for really knowing who we really were, and as a result we kept reinforcing and believing, because the environment around us was unwelcome, or maybe even hostile, is that we got the sense that we are going to be fundamentally rejected as a human being, and this is life or death stuff, so, therefore, the conclusion, the really, really intelligent conclusion is: “I cannot be myself. I will be rejected and I will die here.” Therefore, how do I develop this other false self” so that I can simply be allow PERMISSION TO EXIST?!
- (25:48) “my false self, my persona self is going to overcompensate, I’m gonna be an overachiever, and I’m gonna be a little (or a lot) grandiose, and I’m really gonna be a lot of jazz hands, and bells and whistles, and I’m too much for this world, and I’m gonna make sure that you notice me. So, we have a presentation that’s really sophisticated and dynamic, and we’re even moving [toward] – do you see the connection – we can see how then some people can very easily choose to become manipulative, or manipulate environments to get what they want. Because that’s what they needed to get their attachment needs met, and say hey notice me; I know how to make you notice me.”
- (26:32) “Now, there’s also the other avenue, the other direction. The person who implodes into themselves, and they disappear. They want to stay under the radar. I’ve heard a number of stories of people growing up who had this ongoing relationship with hiding; literally hiding in parts of the room, hiding behind furniture; a particular closet where they would sit next to the shoes and hang out with the the long hanging coats, so that when someone opened the door they didn’t even see that they were hiding in there. That’s literal, but also metaphorical or symbolic of [the way] we to just hold back, don’t reveal who you are. All of this is folded into this narcissistic wound and just to repeat, we’re doing [this] in a context where the parent themselves are unaware of their own narcissistic wound, and the parent is unaware and/or has given up on him or herself needing to mature beyond it. So, if the parent can’t acknowledge their own development, their own limitations and challenges, and how they would have to confront their own wounding, their own suffering, their own pain, and really move into this place of how painful it is to not have a secure sense of self, then they’re not going to touch that content to engage in it …”
The glue that holds this all together
- (30:34) “the glue that’s holding all of this together is that all of us have a narcissistic wound, so to single out this other group of people, to then elevate it to narcissistic abuse, we’re not talking about narcissism, and we’re not talking about abuse; we’re talking about the narcissistic wound. That’s why I’ve needed to create this boundary, because people don’t make that distinction.”
- (33:04) “the limitation here is that, when we over identify with the persona, and the persona becomes a crutch, or the persona becomes all we know. And now we’re scrambling to present to protect our image and protect how we’re perceived, and it’s all about manufacturing ourselves, because we are so far away – we are miles and miles away – from even having access to a foundational truth of who am I, really?
- (33:4)) “At the core of all of this and the reason why we are so attached to this false self persona and our life depends on it is that it is buffering us from our core subconscious shame that I already talked about this shame this sense that if that that you know we concluded at some point in our little mind a little person you usually usually you know a lot a lot of unconscious processes you know it’s just not safe to be me in this world and I have a lot of and I’ve received you know some messaging not only is it not safe to be me people don’t want me to be me.
A Transcendant Primal Rage
- (35:20) “It just makes sense, logically, that anyone who has to endure this kind of dynamic, you can see how this could very quickly create a profound anger; and I want to even turn up the volume. We’re not just talking profound anger we’re talking primal rage, a rage that transcends our family, and transcends our history, and transcends the things that did or did not happen; transcends being hurt, it just taps into this extreme primal rage that’s even nonverbal for some of us. It happened so early on, it’s pre verbal, and it’s this rage around I am not welcome in this world – to be myself and as a human being – I’m in this environment that’s telling me that I am flawed and there is something wrong with me, and I have to invest in this false self, fake persona, in order to function, in order to be in a relationship, in order to get a job, in order to belong to community, and this is just deeply unsettling. This grows inside of us, a fire that is burning inside of us, and the type of primal rage that I’m referring to is so crushing, and so powerful, that it creates the sense impossible feelings, because now it’s not only tapping into our own individual self, our own individual life, our own individual story of how this got set up, we’re tapping into a primal, primal human nature for survival.”
An impossible riddle of impossible feelings
- (37:59) “This really sets up this impossible riddle of impossible feelings, this double bind where you are damned if you do and you damned if you don’t. It is a state of paralysis, it is shame paralysis, and the only way to maneuver through this, until we really are able, in an environment that is supportive and that we have enough insight and aren’t quite honestly where our psyche is able to be cracked open; do you hear those words? You know how [emotionally] violent is?
- (38:57) “For many of us, the only way that this whole thing falls apart is when there’s a crack in the persona and usually the explosion that makes the persona the false self blow apart has to do is delivered through suffering and for many of us because our original wound is around attaching it destroy our attachment trauma and an attachment wound it’s going to happen in the same way it’s that you know we’re so fraud fraud in a fragile way holding it all together and it’s it’s going to take the attempt to love and be loved be in relationship and and and open yourself up to vulnerability and emotional connection and when it doesn’t work out and you and you and for and you also have been involved in a toxic dysfunctional dance of pushing each other way then coming back together and pushing each other away and coming back together and it is tapping into a river of grief a river of shame that the relationship it’s the suffering the ending the profound grief the crushing grief finally blows this all open and for many of us it is just so wildly painful because we’re left with all of these years of the aftermath of the profound ignoring that occurred in our history the profound rejection and that we just conclude you know what people my family even people who I know love me and I love them just did not want to know me as a person and even today still don’t want to know me.
Healing as a lifestyle
- (41:00) “And can you just hear the incredible sophistication that we all will need, to discern in our mind, and to make sense, and to paddle through that river of grief? It is very hard and a challenge. This is why I say healing work is a lifestyle, and this is why I say this is a full-time job, and this is why I say you’re gonna be doing this for the rest of your life. It’s an invitation to really participate and paddle. Pick up the oar, and let’s paddle through the river of shame and sadness, and this primal rage. And sometimes it tips over and we fall into the river, and we are all consumed with it. And that’s the transition. Here, this idea of being all consumed in it, is that what happens is that, we start to think from the point of view of being the hurt child, that we cannot manage when we’re in the river; we cannot manage our own crushing feelings of shame, and this primal rage is so scary, and it legitimately is scary. We are not talking about easy things. I mean, in the truest sense of the boogeyman, in the truest sense of a perpetrator, in the truest sense of a monster, in the true sense of a tyrant, in the truest sense of oppression, this rage, the amount of fear we have around tapping into this rage, is legitimate, and is is something we all internally notice. It’s the place where people often say, when they’re entering healing work, and entering therapy, and they’re encouraged to feel their feelings many people say, “oh I can’t feel that, because that’ll let the damn open, and once I open the dam, I’m gonna be flooded, and I will just die here. I will be so crushed, or it’ll take me eight months before I could at least pop out of the the rushing water of the dam of grief and shame and primal rage. I just have to keep working to hold it all together, and how I’m going to keep working to hold it all together is: I just need to keep reinforcing, endorsing this kind of false self persona. And you realize if you’re trying to be – and really hear this one, this one’s so important – if you’re trying to reinforce being the false self persona in relationship, you’re not really in relationship, because you’re not there.”
- (44:42) “And then something happens in life and we get crushed, and we bump up against this sense of utter abandonment, and pure isolation. That’s what we’re safeguarding ourselves against; utter abandonment and pure isolation. I can’t feel those feelings.”
A wound of the development of the self
- (46:43) “The narcissistic wound is the wound of the development of the self. We have created and adopted this point of view that these shame feelings are so bad, that it links to concluding that we are bad, and we link the belief that we are bad, this core shame, to this primal rage. So therefore, I cannot feel – this is how it gets set up – we cannot feel the primal rage or address the shame because the way to get there, the way this psychological dynamic has been set up, is that we have to walk through the door, [and] the only way to enter it is to believe we are the bad person, to feel the shame, I must to move into the place where I believe I’m fundamentally flawed as a human being, and to feel the primal rage of having been taught that. It means I’m the bad person. I can’t I cannot feel these feelings. I can’t be the bad one! And if I have these feelings, then there must be something wrong with me. If you notice I keep repeating this point, [it’s] because _there’s a crossover here, there’s a link to the [experience] that, if we disown this in our self, we are going to see it in the world around us.
- (48:23) “If we disown our own delusional assumption that we are bad at the core, and we will do everything in our power to develop a false self persona to protect ourselves from ever feeling those difficult feelings; yet we still are living with this belief, and this feeling that you deep down, I might be the bad one, or am bad, I therefore have to cover it up and be the good one, we are gonna project this out into the world. We’re gonna look for other people who are gonna be the ones who are bad. We will have a repulsion, an aversion, a revulsion to feeling those feelings. I don’t want to be that, because then I would be different, and so we protect this false self image of the good person. Some of us call this the empath, some of us call this the loving caretaker, some of us call this the codependent, some of us can call this the big-hearted person who just puts everybody else’s needs first, and really wants to help out; but we are we are so invested in making sure we are the good person, because we can’t feel the shame feelings that falsely, delusionally tell us that we’re the bad person, and because we haven’t made peace with those really difficult feelings; this black and white thinking of good and bad; we then project that out onto the world and we’re going to look for other people who are the ones who are bad … ‘those people.’”
- (50:39) “We’re left with this complete aftermath of extreme pain, of not knowing who we are, we want to point to the person who was responsible and participated in the process, and we need to find the bad people who did this to us. And usually, our brain, our mind goes to our partner. Because we can’t take any responsibility for our own feelings, because to take responsibility for those feelings will push us deeper into the thing we’re trying to avoid. And so then we project this on to others, to keep continuously proving, hey, we’re the good ones, and they’re the bad ones.” It’s cultural.
- (52:02) “We can make the argument that the world is, collectively, in trauma mind we are all operating from trauma mind, and this creates a lack of resource, and we see things in this dualistic black and white thinking, coming from trauma mind, meaning somebody is good and somebody’s bad, it means somebody is chosen and somebody’s unchosen, [and] you can’t have a chosen without the unchosen.”
- (52:47) “Tap into any type of politics, where, whatever side you’re on, you’re on the good side and whoever’s not on your side, obviously, they’re on the wrong side, and they’re bad. You’re good and they’re bad. And this is the source of war, this is the source of genocide, this is the source of oppression, and it’s a lot of this projecting, from this immature, wounded place; [where] none of us know who we are, and it is very easy to make the argument, culturally, that we all are suffering from this huge, giant, extreme, enormous, collective narcissistic wound, the wound of the development of the self, we are all walking around blind, not knowing who we are, and then we get angry at other people, because we don’t know who we are, and it’s their fault.”
(54:13) “This is how this stuff is so complex and hard to talk about, because it’s not denying that [being a good person] is still coming from an altruistic place, there’s still some fundamental goodness, and the fact that you’re a nice person, that’s great, but we’re not using black and white thinking, and saying, ‘well, we’re we’re concluding that actually it’s all faking you’re not a nice person.’ [No,] the part that is fake is the over-identification that we’re using that to substitute for knowing who we are, that we are in relationship to that solidified identity, that false self identity of needing to be the nice caretake-helpful person, and we do it to ignore actually knowing who we are and that that, in and of itself, has a self-absorption quality; it has an agenda quality; it has a very subtle manipulative quality. And this is how people are so dumbfounded and so confused, that they don’t understand: why didn’t he love me, why doesn’t he _see what a good wonderful person I am, because even though, yes, legitimately you’re a nice person, and all the things you’re doing are still nice, but you’re still not there, you’re actually a fake person, and oh, I have to join you in this moment, cuz I’m in a glass house, and I’m not throwing any stones, I’m a fake person, we are all fake people, that is the narcissistic wound.
- More to come, as I’m able …