It’s Narcissist Friday!
I went into the doctor’s office the other day and told him what I had. No, I didn’t force him to accept my self-diagnosis, but I knew that my symptoms matched a certain illness and I hoped to get treatment for that illness. Of course, you know what happened. He asked, “Did you have this?” “Uh, no.” “Did you have that?” “Well, maybe.” Pretty soon I was less sure about my diagnosis. As it turned out, I was right and he affirmed what I thought and gave me treatment. But it was clear that I might not have been right.
I think doctors like to do that. They need us to understand that the popular literature tells about the popular symptoms for the popular maladies. But what is popular may not be what ails you. You and I have to relax and allow them to do their work. Be informed—absolutely—but don’t be close-minded. All you really want is a change in your situation, right?
Narcissism, as a diagnosis of a problem, was in the power of psychologists and therapists and their ilk for a long time. Then the term became popular. That wasn’t necessarily bad and I think that the professionals limited the diagnosis to the set of symptoms on the official page without really listening to patients and victims. They gave little help to those who were just trying to understand what was happening in their marriages, for example. So the popular books came out and the topic opened up to the popular discussion. Many people have found real and helpful answers
. . . as long as they remember that popular diagnosis can be full of errors and misunderstandings. You may think that your loved one is a narcissist, but is he? You may think your child has some illness, but do you treat on the basis of your thoughts? You have to be careful.
This is why I insist on saying that someone is “narcissistic” rather than “a naricissist.” I can help someone determine that certain behavior matches certain defined patterns, but I can’t make a diagnosis. There are so many other factors, so much more information that is needed. And, with a psychological concern like this, the solutions are as varied as the people involved.
I can’t tell someone when it is time to get a divorce or if they should at all. I can’t tell if a certain narcissistic person can be cured. I can’t tell what will happen to the kids or with your job. I can give some general advice that you can adapt perhaps. I can pray for you. I really do care.
But please go find someone to talk with. Be careful. It may not be your pastor if your husband is the chief elder. It may be your medical doctor. It may be the counselor at church or at the local women’s shelter. All of these have their limits and biases, but gather information and learn. And protect yourself.
The best you can find on the internet or in popular literature is a warning, an exposure. You can learn of something you may never have heard about before and it might open your eyes to something in your situation. But go past the popular and get the help you need.
When I got sick I felt miserable. We happened to have an article about a certain illness someone said to watch out for. It listed symptoms and I was surprised to see that I had almost all of them. Then I went to the doctor. That’s what the article was supposed to do.