I DIDN’T DO IT; I AM A NARCISST

I heard someone tell me that when you have the guts to do something or say something then learn to say that “Yes, I did that.” In simple words ‘Own It’. But to accept one’s mistake and take its blame is not as easy as taking credit for all the good you did. Wanting others to see what you see and hear what you hear with your mindset is not an easy feat. This freedom to believe what you want is a matter of Free Will, and when we know we can’t tamper with other Free Will too, that’s where ‘Blame Shifting’ comes in.

Blame shifting is a phenomenon that is often linked with Narcissism. They tend to substitute their culpability to others. You see, it’s convenient. Shifting blame to victims is useful because it allows you to be free of any guilt and the cumbersome task of taking any responsibility or alteration plus let’s agree, it saves your face. You don’t have to go through the humiliation of being wrong or being unruly. Another reason is, narcissists are very good in vindicating everything. They can find 1001 reasons why everybody but them is to accuse. And they aren’t perturbed or fretful by the fact; it’s just an illusion they created for themselves.

They can’t see any imperfections in themselves, they have glorified themselves so much that they see themselves as ideal. So instead of condemning themselves, they criticise others. This is called Alloplastic Defense, which means they hold the world accountable for their problems, not themselves.

Narcissism is an actual condition, called NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) What we call “blame shifting” they call “protecting themselves”. While you call yourself a victim, they know that the real victim is them. You are trying to make them feel bad, guilty, or trap them. You are the manipulator. You are the instigator of this conflict. Why are you doing this to them?

Lies are just lies. They happen. There are so many ways to victimise; the NPD isn’t even aware of the fact that he/she is doing it. An NPD doesn’t (generally) intend to hurt anyone, they merely want to do what they want to do, and so they do it. What do other people have to do with that? None of their business.

Deceiving, evading, being insensitive… none of those is done to hurt people; they are solely ways for the NPD to pursue and project the life they feel they ought to have.

So, if you “attack” someone with NPD by saying, “You did something that hurt me,” their instinct is to call you the liar and utterly destroy you for trying to make them feel bad about themselves.

Since they lack “Purpose Integrity”— the ability to maintain favourable feelings about a person throughout a range of situations or distance—if you are attacking, you are the enemy. You must be destroyed.

After all, if they didn’t mean to hurt you, you shouldn’t be hurt.

But let us not forget a few things here. Not all crimes or mistakes are enormous; some are pretty small and modest, especially when done by kids. They often almost expect a parent to come to their aid.

Until my father passed away, I felt very protected and very secure. The reason being, he never blamed me for anything, be it my natural mistakes or the ruckus I deliberately or unintentionally created. He would just tell my Mom that he broke the vase, he spilt the milk, he forgot to recharge the phone, or he was the person who stained her saree. But while we were alone, and Mom was away he would lovingly tell me that it was wrong to do that, I shouldn’t have done it, and if I do it again, he won’t come to my rescue. And I very firmly believe that his way of saving me a scolding and disgrace but guiding to the right path made me the person I am. Today I am not afraid to accept 100% responsibility for the wrongs I did.

These benign incidents between a family that hurt no ones feeling, in particular, aren’t the source of anyone’s agony.

But yes,

For anyone who is a victim or a scapegoat…

Save the need for answers. Do not get quicksand in need of validation.

Save the questions. It perpetuates the vicious cycle of everything being about them.

Reverse your thought processes and make everything about you.

Get OUT. Survive.

Then go back to the whys, they won’t matter anyway. Until you are Free.

(PICTURE CREDIT: GOOGLE INC.)

THE SELFIE MANIA

A couple of days back I read of a shocking incident that had happened in the October of 2014, in Italy. A female nurse was arrested for the murder of 38 victims. But what was more shocking was a disturbing photo seized by the police: a selfie the nurse took of herself (in her hospital scrubs) standing near the body of a recently deceased patient while smiling and making a thumbs-up gesture! The local prosecutor, aghast at the horrific nature of the evidence remarked, “In all my professional years of seeing shocking photos, there were few such as these.”

Sometime back, the Indian newspapers carried the story of a young lad who lost his life while taking a selfie on a railway track with a fast approaching train behind him! So sad. He didn’t live to share his daring act!

To make the mood of this article a bit lighter, how many of you have competed with family members and friends as to who can pout the best for a selfie?

Yes, the selfie trend has brought in with it pouty poses (horns, winks and V-signs were already there before). Be it alone or with a group of friends, to pout for a selfie is the in-thing. Sounds cool!

While clicking selfies for harmless fun captures good moments, an overdose of ‘taking selfies’ is really something to worry about.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has officially declared taking ‘selfies’ a mental disorder. The disorder is named ‘selfitis’ and is defined as the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy.

According to APA, there are three levels of the disorder:

  • Borderline selfitis – taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media
  • Acute selfitis – taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media
  • Chronic selfitis – Uncontrollable urge to take photos of one’s self round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day

Well well, if you are not in any of these three categories, you are sort of safe. But yes, the separating line is not impermeable!

When I started taking selfies, I really had to learn the right way to incline the camera at the right angle, place the finger at the right postion for the click, take a proper pose with the background in mind, smile and then c..c..click… After the initial clumsiness, when I sort of got used to it (haven’t mastered it yet), I had the urge to take a couple of selfies after I reached my workplace early in the morning and then later when I was about to wind up for the day – just to compare how fresh I looked as I started the day and how worn out I looked as the workday came to an end. I generally never took selfies at other times. Neither did I post them in any social media site. On a few occasions, I shared a couple of good ones with friends and family.

But each day as I took those selfies at my workplace and looked at myself, I wondered why I was doing it. Wasn’t it making me focus more on ‘how I look’ rather than on ‘who I am’? Yes, indeed appearance is an integral part of who we are. However, I felt that clicking selfies is making me focus more on ‘the me’ and ‘the I’ and there was a danger of slipping into an obsession regarding one’s looks. So, no more selfies in the workplace for me!

An occasional selfie with a group of loved ones or at a scenic place of visit is definitely something to cherish. But when we become fixated with our own image, it does speak something more than just a picture.

Our feel-good factor should not rest merely with how we look externally – in our own eyes or in the eyes of others. It is definitely much more than that.

The story is told in Greek mythology about a hunter called Narcissus who was known for his beauty. Once he saw his own reflection in a pool and fell in love with it, not realizing that it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Thus we have the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one’s physical appearance or public perception. And, several decades back, the APA classified one of the personality disorders as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Some of you may feel that I am simply making a harmless selfie sound so terrifying. But, its important to remember that our gestures towards ourselves do convey a world load of meaning about our psychological state.

As I have stated before, an occasional selfie for a memory does not indicate psychological ill-health. Its only when we become obsessive about taking selfies every now and then, that it is something to worry about.

The need for appreciation, approval, acceptance, affirmation, self-esteem; a feeling of loneliness and depression steer one to find satisfaction in one’s own self. And these are the chief factors that unconsciously propel us to love or hate our own images.

The next time you incline your camera to click a selfie, do pause for a moment and ask yourself why are you about to take this selfie.