Expendable

It’s Narcissist Friday!

“Too much has been invested. There’s too much to lose. He brought it on himself. What did he think was going to happen? He put us in a terrible position. There’s only one thing we can do. We have our reputation to think about. We have the people to think about. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.”

“We will make sure it’s a fair trial. We have enough against him to make the charges stick. We don’t need much. He may be a good man, but he said some foolish things. He’ll be found guilty, and then we will turn him over to the Romans.”

“For centuries we have been more spiritual than the others. They hate him just as much as we do, but they don’t have the courage to do anything about it. We have to continue being teachers and prophets. The people need us. One man should not be allowed to bring us down.”

“His followers will scatter. His family will grieve. And his words will be forgotten. The things he said about us will fall away when we charge him with blasphemy, and the Romans charge him with sedition. No, he didn’t do anything wrong, but he said things—things that hurt us and might risk our position with the people and the Romans.”

“Even if he is a good man, he’s expendable.”

The narcissistic organization gathered its leaders to defend its name and power. Jesus shouldn’t have challenged them. They didn’t care that he had followers. They didn’t care what he taught. But over and over he accused them. He used their own words against them. Enough was enough. He would have to be an example for others. There are limits.

So, the narcissistic leaders took him to trial. They heard testimony against him from those who hated him. Then they pronounced judgment. Yes, he was guilty. Guilty of not bowing to them. Guilty of not serving their image. Guilty of exposing the truth about them to the people. Oh, how they hated him. And feared him.

But the narcissistic organization must look good even in judgment. Yes, he was guilty and must be punished, but someone else could do that. Hand him over to the Romans, they said. Let them beat him and abuse him further. Take him to Pilate. Pilate would send him to Herod. And, maybe, if they played things right, they could get the people to turn against him at the end. His blood would be on their hands.

And the narcissistic organization would be there to provide counsel and absolution. When the people cried out to God, the narcissistic leadership would be there for them. When the people asked forgiveness, the leaders would remind them that they had no choice. Besides, for the good of the many, he was expendable.

They watched from a distance as he was nailed to the cross. It was done. Uneasy in their hearts, some of them watched throughout the day. He couldn’t be there on the Sabbath. That wouldn’t look good. At the end, the Romans didn’t have to abuse him further. He died on his own. A man of sorrows, they said. But it had to be done.

Expendable.

She was expendable.

He was expendable.

They were expendable.

The good of the many.

Our reputation.

Our image.

But they weren’t watching later, when everything changed, and the world came crashing down around them.

On that cross, Jesus took our grief and pain. He carried our sins and our condemnation. He bore our rejection and humiliation. Our guilt and shame. On that cross, Jesus became our sorrow.

But the day was coming when all those things dropped from Him and from us, when new life poured into our world in a new way. A day of rejoicing and freedom and peace and joy.

Good Friday, the day when Love said:

“NO! THESE ARE NOT EXPENDABLE! ”

“THEY ARE MINE!”

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So It Begins

It’s Narcissist Friday!

My wife and I were at a restaurant recently with two women and a small child (maybe 3 years old) sitting nearby. One woman was the grandmother (she said), and we assumed the other was the mother. The little one started acting up, not loudly, and we heard the grandmother say, “You better start acting right or we will send you to another family. You can go to another home.” Then she apparently pointed out some people and asked, “Do you want to go home with them? How about them? No, well you better stop fussing.”

That’s all we heard, but I started thinking about that little child. So young and already hearing a message that ties acceptance to performance. In fact, already learning that acting like a little child is something to be rejected. Now, it appeared to me that the child was already a foster child or adopted. He was a different race than the two women. Obviously, I could be wrong, but it seemed that the child had already suffered some kind of rejection, perhaps more than once.

Children do not understand adult expectations or standards. Instead, they learn what it takes to get past the pain and sadness. When adults expect children to act like adults, rather than their age, the children do not learn to become adults. They learn to act in ways that move adults to accept them or do what they want. In other words, they learn to manipulate the system before they are part of it.

I suspect that narcissism often begins when children are bound by expectations to be what they are not. They are rejected when they are themselves and accepted only when they are something they cannot be. We have often said that the narcissist sets up and supports an image of self, something for others to admire and serve. That image is better than the narcissist, better than everyone else. That image can do everything the narcissist cannot. It is stronger, smarter, better looking, more worthy, and more important than others. The image is what the narcissist thinks he/she must be in order to be accepted.

When acceptance is tied to performance, and we don’t understand or cannot achieve the level of performance expected, we will try to deceive, distract, or even attack to get the pressure off. This was what I saw in legalism in the church, long before I started teaching about narcissism. Church members were told what they needed to do and be but not how to do or be those things. The level of performance was either vague or impossible. So they used comparisons, lies, criticisms, and distractions to take the focus away from their inadequacies. They might have tried to conform, but most of them simply learned how to manipulate the system.

And this is what narcissists do. A good portion of the pressure you feel from the narcissist is the result of the pressure he/she feels. She wants to look good, so she makes you look bad. He wants others to see him as superior, so he pushes you to do well and takes credit for your work. The narcissist has not learned how to be superior, but how to look that way.

That little child at the restaurant was being prepared for a life of manipulating others to avoid rejection. He will very likely try to make people think he is so good, so superior, that they wouldn’t want to reject him. He may become critical of others, never allowing them to feel loved and fully accepted. He may use others to salve the fear and pain he feels. He may even abuse others to make himself feel stronger and smarter and more worthy of admiration. Whatever it takes to feel accepted. I pray for that little one.

Now, whenever I try to explain the development of narcissism in the heart of a child, we are almost overwhelmed with this sense of compassion. I feel it. I have heard childhood stories from narcissists that break my heart.

BUT – my grief and compassion does not excuse the choice the narcissist makes to use and abuse. And, yes, it is a choice. It was a choice long ago, and it continues to be a choice. In so many ways, the narcissist has never grown out of that fear of rejection, that childhood of confusion and angst. By pushing the child down, hiding the anxiety rather than dealing with it, the narcissist continues childhood as an adult. He/she chooses to continue to hide and chooses to continue to manipulate.

Many people grew up in situations as bad as or worse than the narcissist. Most of them do not choose to hurt others to make themselves feel good. Most of them do not depersonalize others to the point where they don’t care about the pain they cause. Some do struggle with the wounds of their childhood. That’s sad. But many remember their pain and wish to help others in similar situations. I suspect there are far more who want to help others because of their own suffering.

One of the primary reasons narcissism is so difficult for professionals to classify among the various personality, emotional, and mental disorders is that it is inconsistent and can be unlearned. Narcissists can learn to behave differently, even if they continue to have some of the same fears. But few want to change. This is the way life works for them. This is the way they get what they want. Others don’t matter. Disruption either doesn’t matter or is a tool worth using. Narcissists may not feel things like love and compassion, but they don’t have to be cruel.

So, yes, we have compassion for the pain the narcissist has suffered, but that does not excuse his/her cruelty. Don’t let your compassion compromise your boundaries!

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Good Christian Narcissists

It’s Narcissist Friday!

A week or so ago, Amy Dickinson, the writer/counselor/columnist of “Ask Amy,” answered a reader who sent an update to a terrible family situation. Apparently the reader had shared the situation two years prior, and Amy had encouraged her to go to the authorities. She had been abused by her grandfather throughout her childhood, beginning about six years old. Her mother would not believe her and, in fact, punished her for telling her story.

The reader did go to authorities, who listened and acted. The grandfather admitted his actions, saying that he thought the child was “enjoying it.” Eventually, he received a sentence of six to eighteen years in prison.

But the mother has not forgiven the daughter (the reader) for disrupting the family. The mother says that the daughter is to blame for the whole situation. And then this:

“She and her sisters talk about how they’re all ‘strong, true Christians,” and I should be ashamed of myself because THEY have forgiven him.”

The image of the “good Christian” is so important in some circles that anyone who challenges it can be sacrificed. I wish I could say that it is hard for us to imagine something like this, but many of us have lived through it. Rather than confront sin, these churches, families, and individuals would deny its presence. “Good Christians” wouldn’t do such things. Since they must maintain the image of the “good Christian,” something has to give. Sometimes, those who sin are just cast aside. But if they can’t be separated completely, like a grandfather, the sin is denied. So, an unmarried girl who gets pregnant isn’t welcome in the church, while an abusive elder continues to lead. The girl can be sent away. Dealing with the elder would reveal the scandal.

Over the years, I have met “Christians” who lied to make themselves look more spiritual. Despite the obvious hypocrisy, they somehow convinced themselves that they must look good at any cost. I have known “Christians” who were quick to depersonalize anyone who disagreed with them or who didn’t meet their standards of behavior, even family members. Admitting sin or scandal would damage the image, so others are sacrificed.

Whether these folks are narcissists really doesn’t matter. They are acting out of a narcissistic mindset. Their image is more important than the real suffering of others. In my book, Narcissism in the Church, I outlined three characteristics of narcissistic behavior for individuals or organizations.

  1. The superior image
  2. Depersonalization of others
  3. Use and abuse of others to serve the image

This simple outline explains the thinking, the message, behind the abuse. As long as the image is most important, everything less can be used to support it. So, “good Christians” can lie, cheat, abuse, reject, and whatever else they can justify. Denominations, schools, mission organizations, churches, service organizations—all may have leaders who will reject anyone who challenges the good image.

Notice that these organizations are not above sin. They are only above the “appearance” of sin. When the “godly leader” touches the young girls inappropriately, the truth of the charge is not the issue. The issue is what the public (or the supporters) will think. “We can’t let this get out! It would ruin us.” The ruling board gathers to discern how to deal with the charges in a way that will make the organization look good. They may have to censure the leader or even dissociate from him. They may have to challenge the accusers in court. But they must save the ministry!

Of course, a family is a type of organization. The “Ask Amy” reader revealed the heart of her family. Grandfather was a disgusting pervert who used a little girl to satisfy himself, probably while staying active in the church and portraying himself as a “good Christian.” His daughters (including the reader’s mom) supported him and believed themselves to be “good Christians.” The daughter’s heart could be sacrificed so that the family could considered themselves to be as spiritual or more spiritual than others.

Now, I don’t have to say that this has nothing to do with Jesus or even the Christian faith. Yet, a lot of people will read the “Ask Amy” column and use this misrepresentation as the basis for denying Jesus and anything to do with the church. I understand. I really do. I just don’t see Jesus anywhere near the grandfather or the mom. The people who are willing to sacrifice others to satisfy their own need to see themselves as better do not represent Jesus in any way. To make themselves look good, they are willing to make Jesus look bad in the eyes of those they hurt.

Narcissism is contrary to Christian faith and values. Sadly, the church has yet to understand that.

Here’s the link to the “Ask Amy” article:

https://www.arcamax.com/healthandspirit/lifeadvice/askamy/s-2188705

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The Real Impostor

It’s Narcissist Friday!

Last week, I wrote about “Impostor Syndrome,” and I said that the narcissist invests in a message that brings down your self-esteem and confidence. You doubt yourself, very likely, because someone told you that you were incompetent. You worry about others discovering your inadequacy because someone invested that message in you. Why would someone do that?

It’s called “projection,” and we have talked about it before here. Projection is the simple (!) act of putting your weaknesses and compromises on others. My old art teacher used to say, “It takes one to know one.” In other words, what you call others you are yourself. But, of course, the narcissist would deny that.

This particular projection touches the core of the narcissist. We have talked a lot about how the narcissist feels afraid and weak. Narcissists deal with fear of exposure and rejection all the time. They are the little child hiding, hoping you will ignore them as they present the image for you to admire. They are the small man behind the curtain, pretending to be the great Wizard of Oz.

If you test the actual work of most narcissists, you will find they are both lazy and incompetent. Most of those who seem to do well in their jobs use the work of others or excel at intimidating and politicking. Some have learned to make a good show of working hard. They complain about the hours, the lack of resources, and their co-workers. They work hard only at making themselves look good.

Because the narcissist believes he is incompetent and unworthy, he must make the people around him feel that way. The more he can pass those feelings on to others, the less they will think them about him. In other words, the poor salesman will put down your sales abilities so you don’t notice his inadequacies. Just like the gossip will accuse you of gossiping.

But projection can be very subtle. The narcissist may never say that you are incompetent. He/she will just give “helpful” comments that make you feel that way. Why? Because every comment made about the narcissist’s work is heard that way. Any advice, any compliment, any appreciation is heard as a criticism to the narcissist. Even though he/she invites the praise, the narcissist will find it hard to believe. Even though he/she invites the critique, the narcissist will hear only attacks and rejection.

The narcissist feels like an impostor. In many ways, the narcissist is an impostor. It might be better to say that the image is an impostor. By focusing your attention on the superior image, the lie, the narcissist only reaffirms the negative judgment of his real self. Every time the narcissist boasts of abilities or admiration, he/she is revealing insecurity and shame. And, yes, he knows it. That creates even more insecurity and shame.

Once again, this internal struggle reveals the source of the narcissist’s anger, criticism of others, and need for constant admiration. The narcissist lives with almost debilitating tension, but blames others and tries to give that tension to them.

So. When the narcissist makes you feel inadequate or unworthy, remember that he/she is trying to give those feelings away. You are not the incompetent one. Sure, you make mistakes. We all do. Everyone does. Just because the narcissist is quick to point out your mistakes does not mean you make more than others. And, even if you do make more mistakes than some, how many of them are due to the tension the narcissist has created to help you fail? And when was the last time the narcissist owned a mistake, without blaming someone or something?

Lift up your chin. You are not what the narcissist says you are. If you had narcissistic parents who spoke shame and insecurity into your heart, you may evaluate those words and reject them. Don’t let your identity be molded by someone else’s fears.

Instead, listen to the words of love Jesus speaks into your heart. You are unique, beautiful, strong, good, and of great value. You are greatly loved!

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The recent interview with Dan Duval at Bride Ministries is here: https://www.bridemovement.com/narissistic-abuse-recovery-and-r-kelly-with-dr-dave-orrison/

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Impostor Syndrome

It’s Narcissist Friday!

I’m not perfect
Others are better
I fail too often
I don’t work hard enough
I don’t deserve what I have
I’m not confident
I’m a fraud
I’ve been fakin’ it

Certain words and phrases seem to become popular and are heard often in our culture. We have noticed this with the discussion of narcissism. Ten years ago, only a few people were talking about it. Now we hear it often on television, see it in print, and even encounter it among our friends.

Another phrase you may have heard is “impostor syndrome.” It basically refers to that feeling you and I might have that we are not really as good or as capable as others think. Those who trust in us are deceived, we think. When someone praises us, we shrug it off because we think don’t deserve it.

Impostor syndrome is prevalent among people who have to sell themselves or their product to others. They might be entertainers, sports personalities, or businesspersons, but they share the inner feeling that they are only a step away from failure. At any moment people will see the truth.

I suspect that impostor syndrome is particularly strong in those who have experienced narcissistic relationships. Why? Because the narcissist invests in that message.

Typically, narcissists choose adult victims who are high-achievers with energy and competence who also have some kind of self-esteem issues. In other words, quality people who don’t see themselves as special. Aware of their own imperfections, these people are ripe for the narcissist’s manipulations. They enjoy the attention and appreciation the narcissist seems to give. Then, when the narcissist begins the process of grooming by criticizing and suggesting changes, the victims find that message so familiar that their defenses aren’t ready. By the time the narcissist is finished, the victim feels unworthy of praise and incompetent in performance.

Betty had a good job with great potential in her company. Her bosses loved her and treated her with respect. But she was raised to question herself and doubt her abilities. She rationalized the appreciation others expressed by thinking that they were particularly kind to her. When she met Bill, he complimented her appearance, laughed at her humor, and listened to her stories. But Bill was careful not to praise her work abilities. She felt that was good, if she ever thought of it. He used her skills, but regularly found errors and things which could have been done better. At first, Betty even appreciated his criticisms.

But, of course, the criticism never stopped. It grew stronger and more incriminating. Bill was so much smarter and, even though he didn’t have her training, understood the situations much more clearly. She lacked his “wisdom.” Eventually, Betty began making more mistakes at work. She was relieved when Bill said she should quit and stay home. She never deserved to do well at work anyway.

Yes, Betty had some self-esteem issues before she met Bill. Most of us do. The Christian conservative culture of the 50s and 60s taught us that anything less than perfection was failure. That’s how most of us grew up. But most of us get past that when things work in our lives. It isn’t that the culture was against us, but that it taught us to be circumspect. What Bill did was to take that much farther in Betty’s heart and mind. He used that opening to move her to doubt herself. By the time Betty left her job, she was questioning the motives of her bosses and thinking she was deceiving them when she did well.

Of course, Bill did this so he could control Betty. He was intimidated by her abilities and jealous of her reputation at work. Undercutting her in a way that made him seem superior was his narcissistic way of bringing her down.

Narcissistic parents typically do this in the lives of some of their children. The child is never quite competent. He grows up with the idea that Mom and Dad have been carrying his load, protecting him from life, compensating for his inadequacies. He leaves home hoping that no one else discovers the truth. Not all children of narcissistic parents experience this. Some are almost ignored, while others are expected to be competent in everything from the beginning. Both of these will suffer from the parents’ narcissism as well. But the child who learns to doubt everything about himself will live with this impostor syndrome through much of the rest of his life.

Like all narcissists, narcissistic parents need devotion and appreciation. They will get it no matter what it costs their children. They, of course, have the opportunity to build life-long victims for themselves. Those victims carry scars even after the parents are gone.

Much of what the world calls “impostor syndrome” is the natural result of narcissistic abuse. Self-condemnation, second-guessing, inability to receive a compliment, fear of inadequacy or failure—these have been built into the victims of narcissists.

But once a person realizes that those self-deprecating thoughts have been cultivated by others, he or she can begin to find health and freedom. No one is perfect, but it is not wrong to recognize that you have done well. Nor is it wrong to accept the praises from others. If they appreciate your work and tell you that, you don’t have to doubt their words. They are grateful. You blessed them. The work didn’t need to be perfect to be appreciated, and you don’t need to be perfect to be complimented.

There is an important difference between humility and rejecting your own competence. One of them is a lie. We are humble in the sight of God, knowing that all good things, even our own work, comes from His hand. We need Him. And we can recognize that He blesses us through others. That’s humility. But looking only at your failures and thinking of yourself as an impostor when you do well or others are grateful—that’s lying to yourself.

When you do well, when your work blesses others, give thanks to God. Accept the recognition as He allows you to receive it.

More on this next week…

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Interviews, Podcasts, Radio!?!

I have been trying some new things. Dan Duval of Bride Ministries interviewed me again and I hope to have that link for you soon. Dave Lesniak, from Flash Army America, has been working with me on a radio-type online show. Here’s the link for that. That is mostly about grace and how the grace of God works out in the life of the believer. Both are a little rough, but this seems to be an interesting opportunity for the ministry.

Would you write a review?

Thanks to those who have written reviews for the recent book! Reviews are a big part of marketing today. If you appreciated the Narcissism in the Church book, please consider writing a simple review on the Amazon page. I would be grateful!

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Handling Jezebel

It’s Narcissist Friday!

I just read a meme on someone’s Facebook page that said something like:

If you don’t handle Jezebel, she’ll handle you.

For a lot of people, the character of Jezebel is the epitome of narcissism, at least in the Bible. I know that, in some circles, the idea of a “spirit of Jezebel” is expounded in depth. Frankly, my background is not in those circles, so my take on the idea will probably be different from what you have heard.

I have written on Jezebel before in this post. But that only talks about the Old Testament Jezebel. The idea of a Jezebel spirit comes from the letter to Thyatira in Revelation 2. There was a leader in that church whose personal power and authority were such that she was able to deceive believers into compromise. Somehow, her teaching and influence brought people into sexual and spiritual sin. God challenged her in some way, but she did not repent. In fact, the punishment brought against her would be very serious in the end, just to show her followers and others that there is a price to pay for using the church as a center for self-worship.

Now, all of that does sound like narcissism. Jezebel, in both the Old and New Testaments used people with no regard for the consequences they would suffer and with a “thumbed-nose” to God. She did this to cover her own compromises and to build her own kingdom. Because she wanted it, she took it. Because she wanted it, she taught it. And, by the way, not all Jezebels are women.

I can’t help but think of the pastors and church authorities who have contributed to the abuse and cover-ups we have read about over the past few years. From the Roman Catholic church to the Southern Baptists, the stories make us both sad and angry. We grieve when we read of those who suffered abuse. We grieve even more when we read how the church rejected and re-victimized them as they tried to tell their stories. We get angry when we see how leadership covered up the accusations and retained the abusers in positions where they could abuse again. How could they claim to belong to Jesus and treat people that way? How could they claim to be righteous and cover-up such abuse? Most of us simply cannot understand such hypocrisy.

A Jezebel spirit? I suppose. Narcissism? Yes. I wrote about this at some length in my book, Narcissism in the Church. When all that matters is the image, how you or the organization look to the world (or to the rest of the church), this behavior falls right into place. Abuse others because they are nothing to you. Cover up the abuse so that you can still look superior. I think the church has attracted many narcissists and has allowed the narcissistic message to form a system within the church to support them.

But can you “handle” the Jezebel spirit? The meme said we should handle her or she will handle us. The only way you can handle a narcissist is if you have real authority over him/her. If you are the one who can fire or discipline the narcissist, maybe you can handle him. You should expect that he has already covered himself, found an exit strategy, or compromised you. Narcissists think several steps into the future, especially in situations where they are vulnerable. “Handling” one could prove difficult.

If you are not in an authoritative position over the narcissist, don’t even try to handle him. Get away, if you can. Otherwise, focus on ways to protect yourself or to keep yourself healthy. If you are in a church where the pastor or other leadership is manipulative or abusive, get out. It would be better to stay home than to be compromised by the narcissistic message. Don’t think that you will move them to change by appealing to Scripture or by pointing out errors. Read some of the accounts from people who tried. Your opinion means nothing to the narcissist.

Handling a narcissist has little meaning in the real world of narcissism. There may be ways to minimize the effect the narcissist has on you if you are strong enough to live in a sustained battle. There are ways to keep yourself healthy even in a narcissistic relationship. But if handling means to control, it would be better not to try.

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Narcissistic Paranoia

It’s Narcissist Friday!

“Wherever two or three are gathered, they are probably talking about me.”

Ever feel that way? I was in my early twenties when I began work in my first church. I was the only pastor for a church of nearly 300. The church had more than its share of problems and had them for years. They didn’t particularly like or trust pastors. We had little money, so one time we stayed home for our vacation. That meant we stayed in the parsonage right next to the church. The trustees chose to have a work project during that week, and I decided it wouldn’t be much of a vacation if I had to help. So, we stayed indoors. I remember looking out the window of the house to see some of the men talking. A strong feeling of paranoia came over me. I just knew they were talking about me.

The narcissist lives with this every day. On one hand, the narcissist fears what people are saying. He believes others dislike him, misunderstand him, and want to hurt him. On the other hand, he is afraid they might not be talking about him at all. Maybe they aren’t focused on him. To be ignored or forgotten is worse, in the narcissist’s mind, than to be disliked. But be sure you notice the connection. The narcissist is afraid of what people talk about.

So, the narcissistic response is to control the conversation. If at all possible, the narcissist will give people something to talk about. I suppose the best thing would be for them to talk in admiration of him. So, he will do things to impress others or to make them grateful to him. But, it may also be acceptable to the narcissist to have people fear him. So, he will make them want his approval or feel dependent on him. If they speak negatively about him, with awe or fear, at least he stays in a higher position. And at least he knows what they are saying.

Have you ever wondered why your narcissist is willing to do strange, even negative things, to get attention? Have you wondered why she is willing to look like an invalid or a nut case to have people take care of her? Why he will act like a fool, tell an inappropriate joke, or say mean things? It may all be to control the conversation. Remember that the only thing worse than speaking negatively of the narcissist is not speaking of them at all.

To sit quietly in a room full of people is difficult for a narcissist. He can’t listen to a speaker without making comments or fidgeting in ways that draw attention. I have known narcissists to throw things at others while in a meeting. Even when it’s only funny to the narcissist, it brings attention back to him.

To gather with family and be included only as one of the participants is not enough for her. She has to get sick or offer rude criticisms or try to start an argument. Why? Because the conversations are not about her.

This paranoia may not be clinical, but it is real. I have said that the narcissist’s super-power is the ability to control what others think of him. That ability is the result of years of serious cultivation. It matters to the narcissist. He/she must know what others are saying. Friendships, whatever that means to the narcissist, rise or fall based on what the other thinks of the narcissist.

Don’t forget that the narcissist is a phony. It is the image that is great, not the narcissist. The image that the frightened and inferior person created is what is superior. The narcissist sees himself as weak and small. Of course, he doesn’t want you to think of him that way so he will do his best never to reveal those hidden fears. It is still how he sees himself, and he lives with the concern that others will see the truth.

How did I handle the feeling that people were talking about me? I had to learn to shrug it off. You can’t control what others think or say about you, especially if you are not willing to go to the extremes of the narcissist. As uncomfortable as it is to be the focal point, remember that it is temporary. People actually have other things to discuss.

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I snagged this picture from Facebook. It was shared by someone who got it from someone else. I have no idea whose it is, but I like it. It is a good visual of the struggle of the narcissist. If you know the artist, I would love to give proper credit. The caption is mine.

The scared little boy

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