Tag Archives: narcissism

7 Signs You Are a Victim of Gas Lighting

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If you are (or were) married to a narcissist, then you may be familiar with the term, “gas lighting.” It is the narcissist’s masterful manipulation technique to gain control over you. As your relationship begins to weaken, he carefully causes you slight anxiety or confusion. But as the relationship worsens, he punitively devalues you, and you thereby question your mental sanity. Extreme or long term gas lighting can ultimately lead you to having a distorted sense of reality: not knowing who is right or wrong, feeling guilty for being the person you are, and losing any remaining self-confidence.

Gas lighting is an extremely dangerous form of emotional abuse, as it causes the narcissist’s victim to question her judgment, on even the smallest issues, thereby making her dependent of him. If, for example, she is repeatedly told that she is bad with money, she will begin to believe it, and think that without her narcissist by her side, she will be financially ruined.

The term “gas lighting” comes from the 1944 film, ‘Gaslight,’ where a young woman named Paula falls madly in love with her suitor, Gregory. After an intense romance that led to marriage, Gregory begins to display pathological narcissistic behavior, leading to Paula’s insanity. In one scene, Gregory tampers with the gas light in the attic, causing the house lights to dim. When Paula mentions hearing footsteps in the attic and the lights dimming, Gregory tells her it’s completely her imagination, making Paula question her judgment. Gas lighting is now the widely used term for when a narcissist truly messes with your head.

Depending on the stage of your narcissistic relationship, gas lighting at first appears to be subtle, but then gradually worsens. Below are the signs you are a victim of gas lighting, in order in which they may occur. This list illustrates that as the relationship declines, so does your mental clarity and grasp of reality and truth. Continue reading

4 Steps to Reclaim Your Identity from Facebook

Facebook-IdentityFacebook users could be considered narcissists or at least people who exaggerate their achievements and experiences to show off how great they are to others. When you think about it, Facebook could be an opportune venue for narcissists who keep expanding their audience, drawing in those who wish to bask in their sunlight, get invited to their parties and live vicariously through their experiences. This leads to the logical question: Does Facebook promote an exaggerated sense of self, a false facade of self-worth, or does it in actuality cultivate real self-esteem?

The Facebook profile is an idealized version of self, full of photos and posts to support a “quality” identity. In fact, some people post blatant lies, like about participating in golf tournaments when they don’t even play golf. Others exaggerate how much fun they had on a vacation by posting beautiful photos taken during the one hour of sun in a week filled with mudslides and torrential rain. In either case, one’s lies reveal truths about the self – the image that one wishes to create.

Sometimes when you tell other people your exaggerated achievements or make up stories about your noble aspirations, in essence you are boosting your own self-esteem. After all, these are your innermost wishes and dreams, the inner recesses of your imagination. Once you announce your “stories,” in posts for family, colleagues, friends and acquaintances to see, then you might set out to achieve your stories. Each story you live up to boosts your confidence to build on that experience and fulfill the next one. Who inspires you, a positive coach or a negative coach? In other words you virtually become your own positive coach: Look what I did!

For example, people who experience difficulty losing weight and really want to lose the weight often confide in their inner circle of family and friends for accountability and reinforcement – “there is no turning back now.” Or those who have failed in an endeavor and pledge to succeed in the future want others to see how they can transform failure into triumph. Everyone wants to live up to the better image: Conceive, believe, and achieve.

Reclaim your true identity:

  • You were born an original, first rate version of your authentic self. Don’t become a copy of someone else’s concept, second rate. Take the initiative to fulfill your true self.
  • Start accomplishing for yourself instead of always accomplishing for others.
  • Ask yourself: What do I need to communicate, so that others understand what I need?
  • Rid yourself of emotional programming, that false sense of perfectionism: The perfect job, lover, and home. Make your ideals real. Small steps lead to giant gains.

 

 

Photo credit: Marc Millan

Skinthink: The Original Duality

Mind is Skin 

Made of skin, mind thinks like skin.  It is a fact of human embryonic development that CNS [Central Nervous System], the seat of human intelligence, begins as nothing more than involution (envagination) of ectoderm.  The ectoderm enfolds onto itself (through a process called neural tubing) and becomes centralized, externally, as a brain, and, internally, as a mind.

The first and foremost job of any skin is to separate the inner from the outer, the self from the other.  The skin divides and so do we. Made of skin, we mind dualistically and dichotomously.  Each mind, like a pair of scissors, divides the Oneness of the Universe in half (initially into “self’ and “other”[4]) and then in half again and again and again.  This Skinthink is inevitable.

The Original Duality

There are all kinds of dualities.  We can divide the world into “this” or “that,” “life” or “death,” “good” or “bad,” “black” or “white,” “Republicans” and “Democrats,” “Ego” and “Eco.”  You name it!  But the Original Duality – the original crack in the monolith of Oneness – is the Duality of Self and Other, that of Subject and Object.  There is no shedding of this Skinthink.

Duality is Subjectivity, Subjectivity is Duality

Objectively, all – inseparably – is one and one  – inseparably – is all.  Subjectively, however, we experience the world not as oneness but as a pluraility of stand-alone forms, as a multitude of separated selves.  Subjectivity is fundamentally dualistic as it presupposes a point-of-view, i.e. a perceiving self, and an “object” – out there – to perceive.

All Awareness is Dualistic

Awareness is directional: to be aware, one must be aware of something other than one’s self.  Awareness is necessarily a Subject-Object duality: to be aware of something the Subject must be first aware of one’s self as being separate from one’s Object of awareness. While this separation of all that is into Subject-Self and the Other-Objects is, of course, objectively Maya (illusion in Sanskrit), subjectively this separation is real.  Self-awareness is other-awareness.  Without this illusory duality of Self and Other, there can be no sense of self.  Thus, Skinthink is existentially inevitable.

Skinthink is the Mechanism of Differentiation

The Universe is alive but confused: it dreams the nightmare of separateness.  Each life-form – to be its own self – dreams its own dream of separateness.  This Skinthink is both the cause and the consequence of continuous differentiation of One into Many.

Skinthink is Samsara

Skinthink, the Self-Other Duality, is what drives the metamorphosis of the Universe.  The Universe dreams itself into endless zero-sum scenario.  This is the Samsara (“wheel of suffering”) of our divided existence.  Divided by our subjectivity, we compete against our own – shared – interest.  This happens at every level of existence – from the Brownian motion of molecules – to the fields of political football – to ethnic cleansing and international warfare.

Two Vectors of Skinthink

Subject-Object/Self-Other Skinthink is ego-building.  It is centripetally myopic and inevitably self-serving.  There are – as I see it – two ways for ego to grow: sociopathically or narcissistically.  Sociopathic growth is blatant conquest, ethically unrestrained zero-sum conduct, pure jungle.  Narcissistic growth is the expansion of the radius of identification.  Whereas a sociopathic ego simply takes what it needs or wants, a narcissistic ego recruits the resources with varying degree of developmental sophistication.  Narcissism ranges from primitive (individualistic, relational) to political (ethnic, cultural, social) to sublimated (Bodhisattva). A bacterium that engulfs another bacterium acts sociopathically.  A bacterium that forms a symbiosis with another bacterium is sublimating its self-serving into organism-building. But whether we take the sociopathic short-cut or the so-called “high road” of cooperation, there is no way around the fundamental Skinthink of our motives.  As long as there is a self, the self is self-serving.  This is neither good, nor bad.  It just is.

Culture is Skinthink 

Continued differentiation and acquisition of power lead to the establishment of rules of engagement and arms of enforcement.  Clothing (our second skin) leads to housing (third skin) which in its turn leads to emergence of nuclear families (fourth skin) which leads to social identification and culture-formation (fifth skin) which is further codified into intra-cultural rules of conduct and morality.  Cultures – dreamed by minds that are made of skin – are divisive and, thus, combative.  As the size of the evolutionary opponents grows, so does the size and magnitude of their armamentarium.  Whereas two nuclear families can carry out a centuries-old vendetta with nothing but kitchen knives, any two (or more) geopolitical powers need nuclear arms.  In sum, inter-personal, let alone, inter-national frictions come at progressively greater costs.

Skinthink is expensive.

Strike that: skinthink is unaffordable.  And yet it is inevitable.

That’s the paradox of our existence.

Reference: History of the Next Big Bang: Theory of Nothinglessness

From “History of the Next Big Bang;” a psychoanalytic socio-cosmology in the tradition of Russian Cosmism and Vedic Cosmology

photo by: cpwebb25

From Friend To Frenemy

Your friend used to be a confidante and cheerleader; suddenly, she turns into a frenemy. At this point all secrets shared are at risk for public broadcast; perhaps, she has bonded with another close friend making you feel like a third wheel. Strangely, you still have feelings for her and she is charming when you socialize.  How did this happen? Are you in some way responsible? Should you try to mend fences?

Attributes of a frenemy
Essentially a frenemy is a smiling competitor, someone who gives off mixed signals. Criticism and compliments are both freely given, but the criticism is sinister because it undermines one’s self-confidence. Everyone knows that criticism can be helpful and is necessary for development; this is why one needs a friend for a reality check. In contrast, the frenemy offers a destructive type of criticism. Also when asked for help, if a frenemy does agree – it is often too little and too late!

The hallmark of a frenemy is to steal your time and space. You provide that shoulder to lean on. You are the mirror for her narcissism. However, there is no reciprocity. A frenemy will be too busy, too self-absorbed to be there for you. This makes you feel unworthy because you are being used.

What should you do?
Women have a hard time letting go of friendships. They feel like they have personally failed especially since friendships that go the distance are idealized in many magazines and talk shows. On some level women tend to expect a great deal from their friends, like being a mind reader; consequently, they do not ask for what they need or suppress their inner hurt, allowing resentment to harden like a painful callous.

Here are 8 questions to help you decide if a frenemy is predominantly friend or foe and if it is her or  you?
* Is your body giving off symbolic cues to help decode your emotions: a bad taste, a stomach cramp, a rapid heartbeat or a headache when you are with this person?
* Does your friend often speak sarcastically to you, using humor to veil her insults?
* Does your friend dwell on your misfortune, interrogating you about the smallest details of your illness, breakup or job loss?
* Does your friend monopolize your time?
* Is your friend self-absorbed, rarely complimenting you – manipulating you by tugging at your heart?
* Are you shy about asking for what you want?
* Do you wear more makeup or dress more carefully when you are with her?
* Are you jealous of her? Do you feel less than when you are with her?

 

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