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.)

TRUTHS ABOUT DECEPTION

Whenever I make any new friends especially female ones my Di (elder sister) asks a bulk of questions about them. Though it’s good for me,  I often get irritated about it. Once I said, ‘Don’t try to put your nose into my issues, mind your own business. And why should you know everything about my friends!’ I can never forget her lovely reply, ‘you’re too sensitive about relationship and in this particular matter you use your heart more than your brain’.

The word ‘Deception’ always reminds me of one the incidents of my life.

Then I was a university student, barely in my early 20s. Being an extrovert, I had lots of friends. Within a very short span, my friendship with one of my friends went little more intimate. We started sharing best of our times and lives and trusted one another. After a couple of years of our friendship, my friend’s behavior always hinted me negatively but every time I avoided it correcting myself: ‘doubt always kills friendship and I should not allow it in’. In between my dear friend took a new Videocon smart phone with voice modulation feature. After some days, when I saw my friend is avoiding my phone calls, I questioned – “hey, what happened why have you stopped responding to my phone calls and the reply I got was, ‘actually, my cousin sister is using my phone and is always busy talking to her fiancé’. Many times I had phone conversations with my friend’s cousin sister. Almost after 8 months and because of some unexpected personal issues we had to break our friendship. The next day I came to know from my friend’s parents that ‘there is no one as the cousin sister in the family!!’ It was my friend who took advantage of the voice modulation technology and was misleading me! All our friends felt very bad about it as we simply believed the lies and fabricated stories of our dear friend.

“DECEPTION” is ‘an instance of actions and/or schemes fabricated to mislead someone into believing a lie or inaccuracy’.

C. Ryle says, “What would you expect? Sin will not come to you, saying, “I am sin.” It would do little harm if it did. Sin always seems “good, and pleasant, and desirable,” at the time of commission.”

Yes that’s very true, that’s what deception is all about! Deception allures us presenting itself in its most attractive form with all kinds of fabricated stories and well organized schemes to believe a lie. Wise King Solomon says in the Bible, For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.”

Pamela Christian says, “Unless we examine what we believe and why we believe it, we can easily be deceived and not know it.”

Deception needs introspection. God always prompts us in many ways when we are being deceived. He speaks to our conscience ‘something is going wrong’, so it’s better to pause and introspect the whole matter rather than being emotion-bounded.

“This life’s dim windows of the soul,
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole.
And goads you to believe a lie,
When you see with, and not through the eye.”

(William Blake)

We are meant to see through the eye, with the conscience, not devoid of conscience.

Couple months back, I and a few of my friends heard about the present condition of our same friend who once deceived us. Now we all feel sorry about our friend but each of us are helpless to help our friend. The hound of deception which our friend once embraced has deceived her back. Deception deceives back the same person who deceived once.

Deception always DECEIVES back!

Sacrifice in Marriage – Give in or Give up?

When I was a young adult, I often asked my mother, who worked only a few years in her otherwise housebound life, why she did not pursue a career as a professor when she was offered the job after she got married to my father. Or I would ask her why she always waited upon my father to start with dinner. Or I would quiz her on why she did not cook things that she liked to eat more often. The answer was always the same – sacrifice; my father liked it that way.

Then there were times when I would wonder why my Father, who’s a businessman, never switched over to riskier but possibly, more rewarding business ventures; or did not take that overseas job when he could have. His answer too would be the same – sacrifice; it would have been hard on my mother and us kids.

Then a few years back, I came to learn that the husband of one of my closest friends had been cheating on her for several years. They were on the brink of a divorce. But in the end, she forgave him and is now trying to build a new life for both of them. When I asked her why she forgave him, she gave me the same answer.

Then when I got married, my parents gave me this piece of advice –

Keep your ego aside in your marriage. Love unconditionally. Adapt, adjust, compromise and sacrifice. But always stand up for what’s right.

With that in mind, I compromised on a lot of things in my married life – a career, a beloved city, changed my habits, my attire, who I hung out with, and many more things. But that doesn’t mean that only I changed. My husband made changes in his life too. He quit some habits I didn’t approve of. He now eats whatever I put on the table, even if he doesn’t like it. He will do things and go to places only because I want to go there. And the biggest adjustments and sacrifices in our marriage came when our daughter was born.

I think you may have understood by now what this article is about – sacrifice in marriage. It sounds scary, the word sacrifice, like one of those words that sound daunting and depressing, like the word death. But mostly, sacrifice in marriage comes from the little changes we make in our lives to keep harmony and love in the marital home. Sacrifices, along with love, trust, forgiveness, friendship and communication, make the foundation of a happy marriage.

It does not matter how small the sacrifice is – giving up your side of the bed to your partner who prefers that side, changing the brand of your tea because it doesn’t suit your allergic partner, giving up a career or a particular job to rear up your children – as long as it’s a change you made by suppressing your personal preference for something that brings peace and happiness in your relationship, it will be a bona fide sacrifice.

Sacrifices, or let’s just call them adjustments to make them sound less daunting, show your partner and your family that you truly love and care for them; to let go of what you like, and make space for them instead. It’s easy to say ‘I love you’, but it’s difficult to prove it. But one way of proving to your partner is to love them unconditionally and change your lifestyle to make things easier for your relationship.

So if you wake up earlier than everyone, to make your husband a fresh meal for the work, it is a sacrifice that shows you love him. And in turn if your husband gives up a few minutes of his time to clean up the kitchen after dinner, that is a sacrifice that shows he loves and cares for you. That’s what families do – make adjustments for each other and love each other unconditionally.

Whether to give in to your spouse’s demands or give up on the marriage depends on the kind of sacrifices or the frequency thereof. For there are good sacrifices and bad sacrifices too. The difference between them is that while the former empowers the marital home as a whole, the latter only empowers the bully in the relationship. I’ll give you an example of both –

The above example of making a fresh meal for the husband while sacrificing your sleep, is an example of a good sacrifice, because it ensures that your husband is taken care of while he works. You do it out of love and concern for him. But even sacrificing your ego and forgiving your spouse for an occasional lapse in sanity or good temper, is also a good sacrifice. Afterall, that’s what spouses do, stick together through thick and thin, good and bad, in health and sickness.

But if these occasional lapses become a usual thing in your family, then it’s time to stop sacrificing and stand up for your rights. It’s not a sacrifice when you stay quiet over a grave matter like child abuse or domestic violence, or constant bickering and being taken for granted. Forgiveness is one thing, but there’s no place for violence and maltreatment in a marriage. Bending to someone’s will for something that is unfair or wrong, more than a few times, is not a sacrifice.

In the end we must remember that all relationships require some sort of adjustments in our behaviours. That’s what living in a society is all about. If we all started to only think for ourselves, we would have anarchy. But the most demanding relationships are those in the immediate family – husband-wife and parents-kids. They require an uncountable number of sacrifices, some of them even downright unfair. It is upto us to decide where we give unconditional support and where we draw the line.

I leave you with this apt quote on what marriage is really about by Darlene Schacht –

Marriage is a thousand little things… It’s giving up your right to be right in the heat of an argument. It’s forgiving another when they let you down. It’s loving someone enough to step down so they can shine. It’s friendship. It’s being a cheerleader & trusted confidant. It’s a place of forgiveness that welcomes one home, and arms they can run to in the midst of a storm. It’s grace.

Pradita Kapahi.

 

SIN – A MESSY STATE OF MAN

Five-year old Blessy came back from school scared that day. The Dictation answer sheets had been distributed in class and she had committed two mistakes, thus losing two marks. She thought she had written all correct spellings and hoped to score full marks. Now what awaited her was a nice piece of her mother’s mind. She debated within herself whether to show the answer sheet to her mother or hide it. Finally she decided to show it. After all, her mother was going to find it sooner or later! With shaky hands and lowered eyes, she extended the answer sheet to her mother after dinner – all the time thinking what excuse she could give. Her wise mother brought out the text book from the school bag, turned to the chapter, showed Blessy the correct spellings and explained that anything other than those mentioned spellings, are wrong.

Mistake

Wrong

Error

We use these words interchangeably in our everyday lives to indicate any deviation from the norm. Anything that is not correct, is considered incorrect. Anything that is not right, is considered wrong. To declare whether something is incorrect or wrong or erroneous, we need to have the knowledge of what is correct or right or the norm. Absence of standards renders mistakes/errors/wrongs into irrelevance – just as without traffic rules, adherence to / violation of traffic rules is insignificant.

AN UNCHANGEABLE STANDARD

Violation of absolute moral laws put in place by the Creator is called sin. All moral law begins with God. We cannot speak of sin without mentioning God. It is because of the presence of a self-existing and pre-existing God, that there are absolute moral laws in place for the whole of mankind even before civilizations emerged. Culture defines civilizations. Education and development refine human functioning. Awareness empowers the human mind. The Constitution of a country establishes the law of the land. All such standards are very essential for the civilized functioning and growth of the human race. However, they are subject to modifications and amendments according to the changing times. To give an example – today we have Cyber Crime cells in place, in the law and order systems of most countries; decades before, they were non-existent. God’s moral laws, however, are uniformly meant for the entire mankind for all times to come irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, sex, race, caste, language, socio-economic status or occupation. That is why God’s laws are absolute! His standards are unchangeable even in the changing times. This is because, God Himself doesn’t change.

In the Bible, God declares, “For I am the Lord, I change not.”  

Hence, violation of God’s standards, is sin.

ALL SIN IS SIN AGAINST GOD

We cannot substitute words like ‘mistake’, ‘error’, ‘wrong’, for sin. These substitute terms hold good for violation of human standards. But, not to refer to the violation of the absolute moral standards of God. Hence, mere euphemisms do not reduce the gravity of violating God’s standards. All sin, whether it harms us or others or no one in particular, is ultimately against the Holy God.                                   

A PERVERSION OF GOD’S DESIGN

Human beings have been created in God’s image to reflect His glory. What a high mandate for us! No sin dwells in God. Hence, no sin ought to find place in our lives. But when we sin, we mar the very image of God and raise our hands against God’s glory. We attempt to distort God’s design!

NO EXCUSE FOR SIN

The legal frameworks of many countries have the provision of not convicting people accused of legal aberrations if they are in the ripe old age. The heads of countries and certain government officials enjoy legal immunity till they are in power, for any action of omission or commission. However, there is no excuse whatsoever for sin against God. A sinful man is without excuse. Sin is sin irrespective of the age at which it is committed or the circumstances under which it may be committed. Because we have been created in the image of God, we have His moral law etched in our hearts. This rules out ignorance / lack of awareness as an excuse for sin.

The Bible says, For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

SIN  CAN NEVER BE HIDDEN

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

All sinful deeds committed under the table, behind closed doors, in the darkest corners, in mountain holes or in the deep seas stand exposed before the Omniscient God. People around us may remain ignorant of the petty or humongous misdeeds committed by us. But, you and I can never escape the All-seeing eyes of the One who watches everything.

SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES – ON EARTH AS WELL AS IN ETERNITY

A spelling mistake in exam would result in less marks and scolding from parents/tutors. A typo in an important document would lead an employee to wash his/her hands off the job. A misprint in the wedding invitation card may lead guests to land up at the wrong venue. Similarly, sin’s consequences are inescapable. To give an example – A person fiddling with multiple sexual partners is bound to suffer from STDs, apart from other social and emotional consequences.

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing…”

INTENSITY IS NOT THE DEFINING PRINCIPLE OF SIN

A sin is a sin if it violates God’s standards, no matter whether it is measured as big or small by the world. And God’s standards are really high. The Bible says –

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So, if we have been categorizing murder, robbery, rape as grave sins and dismissing petty lies, cheating, anger, bribery as circumstantial acts of misdeed, it’s time for a reality check!

As long as we are in the flesh, we are susceptible to sin. The Bible says, “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…”

It is easy to brush aside this whole concept of sin which tends to make one pretty uncomfortable. But, it is not right to live each day ignoring the fact that we may be sinning in multiple ways. Such an understanding would ultimately lead to a doomed eternity, as our sinful thoughts, words and actions are bound to come before us one day. Sin calls for repentance and repentance leads to seeking forgiveness from God and man.

Friends, living in sin equals to dying to God. Let’s not mess with sin. Let’s seek to remove the shadow of sin from our lives.