As I looked out across a group I was with recently, I asked myself whether it is in the nature of a group to be narcissistic. Some of the people I saw were there because they had to be there. They were bored, discouraged, drained—and the group didn’t notice. Others were energized by being there. They greeted people with enthusiasm and happily stood up and shared their thoughts and accomplishments. There was the standard competition and the standard “How are you doing these days?” Some got the love; some were basically ignored; some got the shaft.
So, it was pretty much like all groups. And the message seemed clear that, except for the attendance figures, no one really cared who was there. Of course, there were friends who enjoyed seeing friends and, for me, those connections are always the good that comes from this kind of group gathering. But the group was unaffected by the individuals who were present, except for a few notable exceptions. In other words, except for a few, the absence of any individual would go unnoticed.
If the group treats you like you are unnecessary unless it needs you for something, isn’t that narcissistic? If the group goes on its merry way when its members drop like flies, isn’t that narcissistic? If the group welcomes those who feed it and uses their energy until they burn out or are no longer valued, isn’t that narcissistic? If a group is kind and supportive while certain members provide energy, but turns on those same members when they need energy, isn’t that narcissistic?
And why does this sound like certain churches we know about???????
Well, tomorrow I will share why I think a group actually cannot be narcissistic, no matter how much it might seem to be true.