It’s Narcissist Friday!
“Listen, Kippy Jo, men like Earl Deitrich steal people’s dreams, They have no creative vision of their own, no love, and no courage. They envy people like you and Wilbur. That’s why they have to destroy you.” Heartwood, James Lee Burke, p. 167
As the author explains this to his character, he explains it to us. He does nothing to solve the problem, but he puts into words the feelings we have. Some of you know a person like Earl Dietrich, who steals dreams and destroys the hearts of others. Some were raised by such a person. Some have been married to such a person. Some work for such a person.
You may have thought you were the only one who thought these thoughts. They were too strong, you thought. You tried to talk yourself out of labeling a person with those words. But there they are, in print. Someone else knows a narcissist. You are not alone.
But the fiction writer is not better than you. He or she might have thought about the issue more or in a different way, but that does not mean they are right. In fact, the fiction writer may not be describing the true motivation of the narcissist at all.
In the quote above, the suggestion is that the evil character has no dream of his own. But, of course, the narcissist does have a dream. For most it is a single dream/goal made of many progressive smaller dreams. The narcissist wants to be seen as the best—the smartest, the richest, the most powerful, the best looking, the most successful, the strongest, etc. That dream is a fantasy, something the narcissist believes he will never truly attain. Yet, he is driven toward that goal with every breath.
Your dreams do challenge the narcissist. The fact that you can find contentment at any point lower than the top is something he cannot understand or accept. He will not believe you. He will not respect you. And he will take your dream to help him achieve his own. If you get hurt in the process, he doesn’t care. In fact, he sneers at your obvious inferiority.
So, the “Earl Dietrich’s” of the world want you—need you—to respect/honor/serve them. If they have to humble you to make you do that, they will. If they can somehow use you or your accomplishments, they will. And two things will happen: they will feel superior and they will think they are closer to their goal.
You may look at your narcissist and think he or she is quite creative and quite capable. Most are intelligent and successful in life. Just remember that they also serve a dream, and everything serves that dream. Perhaps it is not very creative to have just one dream, but there is a dream. The sad thing is the narcissist will never reach it. No matter how much love and respect and attention are heaped on them, it will never be enough.
The narcissist wants it all.