Most of us know one; someone that is so in love with themselves, they are almost completely unaware of the world around them unless it directly relates to feeding their inflated ego.A friend of mine in high school used to say, “She’s so stuck up, she’d drown if it started raining.” I was surrounded by a lot of stuck up, self indulgent, “me me me” brats in school. As an adult, I typically choose not to associate with these types of beasts.
However, my beloved husband suffers from a slight affliction of this disease. I keep him balanced by insulting his ego several times a day. He is almost bearable to live with most days. On the days that he is so self absorbed, I point to the door and tell him to come back when I can stand him again. Yes, folks, that really is a punishment as then he no longer has someone to stroke his ego and tell him what an uber fantastic, Adonis of a man he is (as if I would ever tell any man that – seriously, get over yourself, yer shit still stinks). So what is a narcissist? The dictionary defines it as:
1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. Synonyms: self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism
2. Psychoanalysis . erotic gratification derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.
I know another one of these most annoying creatures from an online community where I participate as a would-be writer. His narcissistic tendencies are so out of whack with the rest of the world, it would be funny if it weren’t so scary. He’s taken it to an art form, tho. He surrounds himself with newbie writers and fawns over them until they believe the shit he’s feeding them. They are so grateful to be recognized by an ‘established’ writer that they trip over each other laying praise at his feet and hang on his every word. It makes me wanna puke in his over sized loafers.
Am I jealous? Far from it. He’s a decent writer and as far as I’m concerned, we don’t compete in the same niche. Although, for some unknown reason, he considers me a threat and loves to leave stinging comments on my writings. Many find the banter amusing. The more informed consider it sniping and ugly. I refuse to give fuel to his fire any longer. In dealing with this egomaniac, I have learned to side step some of his mildly masked attacks.
I have also learned not to take anything he does or says personally. I don’t want that kind of stress in my life and he doesn’t view me as a living, breathing soul with wants and needs but more as a source of building self-esteem for himself. The more he hurls insults at me and makes a scene, the more attention he gets. If I walk away and refuse to respond to his tirades, the less people pay attention to him.
Another thing I have learned recently is to avoid making myself a target. Criticizing him only resulted in something I found out was called “’narcissistic rage’,” where the narcissist wards off shame by retaliating against the person who caused the narcissistic injury. These reactions are extreme and out of proportion to the trigger event.” Yeah, that was a painful lesson. And he scored a point in that little run in; never again, tho. I now know better and have armed myself.
I really have to thank my friends and fellow writers for throwing me emotional support. Dealing with him drains me emotionally and makes me doubt my own abilities as a writer. Thankfully, they remind me that he is only transferring his doubts, fears and bad feelings about himself onto me and what he thinks or says about me is far from the truth.
So, to my friends, I owe you one. To the asshole who thinks he’s God’s gift to writers the universe over; good luck with that! The rest of us know the truth.