At the intersection of writing and narcissism, this article in The New Yorker (though excellent and compelling and important) nauseated me – and for good reason. The title of the piece, Seduce the Whole World: Gordon Lish’s Workshop, written by Carla Blumenkranz,
is a must-read for any writer, any artist, any student who puts their trust in a professor who really cannot – should not -be trusted.
I have known such “teachers.”
I once took writing class up in LA. I was in my early 20s. The teacher was intimidating yet seductive. It was clear that he bestowed “specialness” on certain students. He would insult one writer’s work (we had to read aloud), make faces in the class, then turn to another student who “might show the class how it’s supposed to be done.” Or he’d read his own work and go on and on about how great it was.
This “teacher” made writing seem like something only a few – himself included – could grasp. It turned out the writers whose work he “liked” were people who had taken his class for years – writing groupies. He fed off them because he was a parasite. (And they thought he actually liked them.)
I understand all that today. Back then I was too young to know what was going on and didn’t make it to the end of the course. Self- preservation kicked in.
Maybe today self-preservation will kick in for you, too.
Again, here is the link.
I have grown to really dislike the Comments section in many online sites. Even respect news sites, sometimes, have comments that I wish I could un-see. I can’t stand the cruelty, the purposeful nastiness, the fight-picking, superiority…the list goes on. It sucks my energy, like a parasite. Like, perhaps, a narcissist? Certainly like a sadist.
This is an excerpt from a terrific article in Slate by Chris Mooney, which explains the original research succinctly:
“The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).”
Read Mooney’s article, and scroll down for the graphic that further illustrates the results of the Buckels et al study.
The results are quite shocking, yet not really surprising.
This post from the Harvard Business Review, written by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, an international authority in personality profiling, provides a pitch perfect assessment of how narcissistic traits transfer to the workplace where, at one time or another, we’ve all been confronted with a narcissist (or two) – as a coworker, HR manager, supervisor or owner of the company.
The post, Why We Love Narcissists, offers us three reasons why we actually don’t love them and why they confuse the hell out of us (to put it mildly):
1. Narcissists are masterful impression managers
2. Narcissists manipulate credit and blame in their favor
3. Narcissists fit conventional stereotypes of leadership
Sound like someone you know? Read the rest of the post now.
The Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (HSNS) was developed by Holly M. Hendin and Jonathan M. Cheek over 15 years ago. A blog over at Scientific American highlights this scale in a post by Barry Kaufman called 23 Signs You’re Secretly a Narcissist Masquerading as a Sensitive Introvert.
In Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved, I write about narcissists who have a way of flipping everything so they are the “most-est” at everything. The most shy, the most sensitive, the most misunderstood. Most people first think of narcissists as loud and blustering, but this is not always the case. Kaufman’s article offers the quiz. Might be interesting to take a look, no? If not about you then about someone you know.
Follow the link above, then scroll to the bottom of the article. What does it reveal?
STRONGER EVERY DAY
Thoughts, Meditations and Ideas to Help You Overcome the Effects of Narcissism
The companion to Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved, STRONGER EVERY DAY, also by Meredith Resnick, will offer readers a single idea to ponder throughout the day. These ideas will come in different forms, so the format is interesting, intuitive, varied and, perhaps, fun to read.
STRONGER EVERY DAY is for anyone in the process of healing from the effects of narcissism, who are exploring new relationships (including a new relationship with themselves!) and those who simply want a daily totem to help guide their intention, helping to keep the focus on their own needs, joy and self.
More details to come!
Singer-songwriter Aimee Mann gets it. About narcissism.
This from her interview on npr today:
“I’m fascinated by charming people,” Mann says. “They’re fun to be around, they’re entertaining, they pay attention to you. They’re a glorious addition to any group, until you spend a certain amount of time with them and start to realize that it’s essentially a construction. But I totally buy into it. I think ‘charmer’ is just another word for ‘narcissist.’
There is a song called, “Charmer.” Need I say more?
Except…I will be getting her new album!
I recently wrote about narcissism for Jane Boursaws television and movie online magazine Reel Life With Jane. I noted in the piece that, “when it comes to the creative process of character development in movies, books, even shorter pieces, it’s interesting that the more extreme the personality, the better. In real life, however, this is most definitely not the case.”
I wrote that, I didn’t know of many (or anyone, for that matter), who “consciously [sought] out this type of person for a relationship — romantic, work or otherwise. However, put a well-crafted, well-written narcissistic character (as a fictional character, that is; the nonfiction ones are just bores!) on television or in a movie (I am not talking about reality shows, either), and we’re intrigued, mesmerized, and sucked in (without actually being chewed up and spit out!).”
Read the entire piece by CLICKING HERE.
Codependency, a term coined by recovery writer Melody Beattie more than two decades ago, is an issue worth considering when discussing narcissism.
Beattie wrote her first book, Codependent No More, back in the 1980s. It was one of the first to really look at the near symbiotic relationship that very often occurs with an alcoholic and his/her spouse, for example. But instead of only looking at it as though the alcoholic had all the issues, it shone the light on the characteristics–needs and issues of those in relationships with them. Their relationships were often troubling, traumatic, high-drama, and comic/tragic, and chronic with problems/rife with stress–but the other person could not seem to get out of it, or wanted to!
Wikipedia does a nice job of explaining it this way (click here for link to entire entry):
The term codependent originated as a way to describe people who use relationships with others as their sole source of value and identity. It ‘comes directly out of Alcoholics Anonymous, part of a dawning realization that the problem was not solely the addict, but also the family and friends who constitute a network for the alcoholic’.Codependents often end up in relationships with drug (including alcohol) addicted spouses or lovers. In the book, Beattie explains that a codependent is a person who believes their happiness is derived from other people or one person in particular, and eventually the codependent becomes obsessed with controlling the behavior of the people/person that they believe is making them happy.
Another book of Beattie’s that I love is The Language of Letting Go. It’s a daily reader that addresses many of the icky emotions we have likely felt as a result of dealing with a person with narcissism. While some of the entries address addictions of the other person, one will quickly see that substituting the words “narcissist” or “narcissism” works seamlessly.
Trapped in the Mirror, by Elan Golomb, PhD, is part memoir, part clinical dissection/observation of life with a narcissistic parent, and also an examination of clinical work with patients who have stuggled with narcissists in their life. This book is among my favorite books on the topic of narcissism and its damaging effect; I’ve read it over and over. It’s the one that broke the code for me, or as one might say, gave me my first “a-ha” moment about the “phenomodisease.”
“Narcissists—you can’t leave them, it’s nearly impossible to love them, and you feel like you want to pull your hair out whenever you’re around them.”
So begins Anne-Marie Bartok’s article over at AgingCare.com, “A Caregiver’s Guide to Caring for a Narcissist.” Bartok interviewed me for her piece, after reading my post on PsychologyToday.com titled “When Your Parent is a Narcissist”
Click the links if you’re a caregiver caring for a parent or someone else who is narcissistic.