I want to tell you how much I am afraid of pain. To me, it is a pebble in Indra’s Net - lift it and the whole net revives. My pains do not come isolated - they live in families of anguish, in tribes of hurt, whole races of agony.
I cannot experience them insulated from their kin. They rush to drown me through the demolished floodgates of my childhood. These floodgates, my inner dams - this is my narcissism, there to contain the ominous onslaught of stale emotions, repressed rage, a child’s injuries.
Pathological narcissism is useful - this is why it is so resilient and resistant to change. When it is “invented” by the tormented individual - it enhances his functionality and makes life bearable for him. Because it is so successful, it attains religious dimensions - it become rigid, doctrinaire, automatic and ritualistic. In other words, it becomes a PATTERN of behaviour.
I am a narcissist and I can feel this rigidity as though it were an outer shell. It constrains me. It limits me. It is often prohibitive and inhibitive. I am afraid to do certain things.
I am injured or humiliated when forced to engage in certain activities. I react with rage when the mental edifice supporting my disorder is subjected to scrutiny and criticism - no matter how benign.
Narcissism is ridiculous. I am pompous, grandiose, repulsive and contradictory. There is a serious mismatch between who I really am and what I really achieved - and how I feel myself to be.
It is not that I THINK that I am far superior to other humans intellectually. Thought implies volition - and willpower is not involved here. My superiority is ingrained in me, it is a part of my every mental cell, an all-pervasive sensation, an instinct and a drive. I feel that I am entitled to special treatment and outstanding consideration because I am such a unique specimen.
I know this to be true - the same way you know that you are surrounded by air. It is an integral part of my identity. More integral to me than my body.
This opens a gap - rather, an abyss - between me and other humans.
Because I consider myself so special, I have no way of knowing how it is to be THEM.
There is no resonance. It is like reading a boring users’ manual pertaining to a computer you do not even own. It is like watching a movie about yourself. There is no insight, no assimilation of these truths. When I write this now, I feel like writing the script of a mildly interesting docudrama.
It is not I.
Still, to further insulate myself from the improbable possibility of confronting these facts - the gulf between reality and grandiose fantasy (the Grandiosity Gap, in my writings) - I came up with the most elaborate mental structure, replete with mechanisms, levers, switches and flickering alarm lights. My narcissism does two things for me - it always did:
- Isolate me from the pain of facing reality
- Allow me to inhabit the fantasy land of ideal perfection and brilliance.
These once-vital function are bundled in what is known to psychologists as my “False Self”.