detail of ceramic sculpture, 14″d x 12″h, 1977

I have a wise friend.

Yesterday, we spoke and she shared something with me about narcissism.

I happened to have had the queen of narcissists for a mother.

It was always all about her. Always. Always.

But each and every one of us began thinking we were the center of the universe until we were rudely awakened to the fact that THERE ARE OTHERS HERE WITH US WHO HAVE THEIR NEEDS TOO!


My friend was speaking of how each of us chooses a tactic for survival at that pivotal point.

When dealing with the NARCISSISTIC WOUND we either inflate ourselves as a counter-attack or we deflate.

We carry this tactic along with us into adulthood, long after the threat experienced in childhood is gone.

I tend to DEFLATE.

It looks like this:

I beat myself up all the time for perceived mistakes.

If something is ‘off’ in any way I tend to look towards my self for the cause.

I don’t make use of my full vocabulary in order not to put someone off.

I ‘dumb down’ in order not to shine too bright and take attention away from others.

An example of INFLATION might look like how my father used to cover up his wound.

He worked for General Motors and because of his position, could bring home new cars to test out for a few months at a time.

We all knew the script to pull out for these moments: ‘DAD IS GREAT AND GOOD AND THIS IS SO EXCITING AND HOW LUCKY WE ARE!’

He charmed everyone at family gatherings with his shiny good looks and easy sociability to such an extent he had people lined up to get a bit of the heat.

We got the dregs of his drunkenness.

I think this way of looking at myself and others is so interesting.

In the theater-of-it-all I can now begin to distinguish my own and others PRIMARY ESSENCE before we picked the INFLATION or the DEFLATION card.

It is so easy to see now and so much easier to forgive.

I watch myself going: “Oh yeah.. he’s feeling scared so he wants me to know how great he is.”

Or: “I feel really insecure on this date so I’ll try to connect by telling him a fault of mine (mistaking this for intimacy)”

This is a GREAT piece of information my friend shared.

It feels so freeing to me.. uncomplicated and true and practical.

Today, I’m going out there to try and keep my tires road trip-ready.. not too much air nor too little..

So they can take the bumps as they were meant to.


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