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Saturday, March 26, 2016

"Wisdom"

I keep the Serenity Prayer on my office bulletin board.  It keeps me from strangling certain people and helps me stay centered (or advises me to get centered).  It reminds me wisdom is a goal, not something I've already achieved.

I was walking on a beach by the ocean once and suddenly everything made sense in a whole new way.  I was overwhelmed by the understanding and by the beauty around me.  Even the squawking of seagulls seemed to affirm my new truth.  The receding tide pulled the old reality away.  I was totally in awe and full of joy in that moment.

Having had that experience once, I wanted it again.  I tried to make more epiphanies happen, but epiphanies are unhelpful that way.  You've just got to make your new reality solid by working through all the pieces of your life that need remodeled -- which can be quite a drag to tell the truth, but the end result is a better life than the old one.

Last week I talked about narcissism.  I've continued to think about it, and kismet intervened by a friend's facebook post about gaslighting.  I know the word because my house was repeatedly broken into and things taken or moved, but nothing so serious to be anything other than crazy making.  I changed locks repeatedly and filed police reports but it was a long time before it stopped.

The article about gaslighting talked about (guess what?) narcissism.  Ahhh... the universe is telling me something.  I spent days reading things online, and then switched to youtube.  There's more narcissists than I imagined, and I'm realizing I've had a LOT of them in my life.  I started my research with one person in mind, then two, several, and OMG him too?  Epiphany!  Actually, it was a series of epiphanies without the benefit of ocean and seagulls.

I recommend you look things up online too, but I don't want to make this post a narcissistic tutorial when there's so much better info already online.  I put some key points about them below.  Where I'm going with this is "wisdom".  Gaining more information leads me to see certain people in a new light, most especially myself because I am still living in response to others' behaviors.  New knowledge is giving me a new way to look at things that I couldn't see before because I didn't know what questions to ask.

Studying narcissism makes me look at the Serenity Prayer again.  "Accept things I cannot change." Narcissists won't change.  The professional advice is don't try and run like hell.  "Courage to change the things I can" -- which is my own point of view and with whom I choose to have in my life.  "Wisdom to know the difference."

I don't want to sound ungrateful for guidance and kismet, but next time I get an epiphany, I want seagulls and ocean, or maybe a forest.  It would be nice to have an empathetic someone with me too.

Narcissists...
Don't care about your feelings.  Really.  They act interested to manipulate your feelings more effectively.  They use your words to twist your reality and to make you question yourself.  They cripple you in every way to make themselves feel more powerful.  They won't change and won't get help.  Any sign of change is manipulation.

Dealing with Narcissists...
Flee.  You don't have to be nice to them, you can even be rude, because they don't have regular feelings.  This doesn't hurt them because they honestly don't care about you.  If you can't leave because it's your boss or someone like that, make it all about them.  "I need a day off so I can work more effectively for you."  (Something I actually said to my last boss.)  End the conversation quickly to limit abuse.

Group Dynamics
Narcissists will manipulate others into criticizing and ostracizing you, even if the others aren't narcissists.  The things narcissists do seem unbelievable to others outside the group, so you won't be believed when you talk about it.  It's best to have no contact with the narcissist and also the rings of people involved in the abuse.

15 comments:

  1. And Zoloft helps a lot to gain that tranquility as well. Good thoughts, my friend.

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  2. I'm glad you have found some useful ways of dealing with life's challenges....the Serenity Prayer is really very common sense. Happy Easter Linda,may you have a peaceful time, surrounded by people who care for you....and lots of chocolate ;0) xx

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  3. Thanks Jane! Wishing the same for you this Easter!

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  4. I've dealt with narcissists. It's annoying at best. I like the advice you've included on how to deal, and will put it to use! I particularly like "make it all about them". why had I not thought of that - seems so obvious.

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  5. I can't take credit for the advice, it's what I learned online, but I did come up with that about wanting a day off on my own. I hope you had a happy Easter!

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  6. I very much relate to the need to balance grand epiphany moments with doing what needs to be done. It's a good thing that we can't just will moments like that into being or we just might not ever get anything done, make actual progress in life. I'm sure that's true of me, at least.

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    1. Sometimes I think we get exactly what we need, even if that's not always what we want. Life's a journey :)

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  7. I just copied this quote onto my creative writing blog, in the hope that it will spark a new post.
    "Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option." Maya Angelou

    It's not about narcissists, but, just something I deal with regularly. Uff da. People are hard.

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    1. Hey, I understand Norwegian! I think that's the total of my understanding though. Love the quote :)

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  8. We all have some narcissistic tendencies, don't we—and it's hard to accept. Finding ways to deal with what life brings about, is important, whether your own revelations or narcissistic friends. I didn't know about Serenity of Prayer and will have to look it up.

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    1. May the prayer help you too Otto :) The professionals make a point about healthy self-interest is different than self-absorption that leads to destructive actions towards others. Like it's good to crow with happiness when you achieve something good, but it's bad to steal someone else's success and rub their face in it while slandering that person's reputation. Seems obvious, but it all gets hard to see when you get enmeshed with a narcissist's games. Live and grow!

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  9. Linda, thank you very much. I've copied your lecture for somebody who is bullied by a narcissist.
    You have written a great post.

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    1. I'm glad I could help someone else. Best of luck to that person and everyone else in the same situation!

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