Dr. Carpenter’s BLOG
From time to time I will be adding posts here. Some will be short essays, some will be pictures or photographs, some will be poems. All will touch on the topic of psychotherapy to some extent or other. This tiny one-act play touches on how difficult communication can become sometimes. My current software permits no responses from readers on this page, although I would be interested in responses. If you wish, you can email me your reactions: info@DrJimCarpenter.com.
PITY THE NARCISSIST
Don’t be too hard on the narcissists. We may find them irritating or disappointing or even dangerous. But their plight is desperate. They are helpless in love, and love is as necessary for life as air. They have no power in the realm of real connections with others. People who are not too narcissistic have some sense that their needs and wishes can connect them with others. They have the power to form bonds and keep them if they wish to. Simply needing matters. They may know this too deeply to ever think about it. They hold their bonds inside themselves and they have a reasonable sense that holding them there has some power to hold them with the other person too. They sense the reality of connections. They believe in this magical connection of inner and outer. At times this proves to be a shattering illusion, but more often it is true. It is true often enough to seem reliable. They say “We are connected, I want her and I have her, I like him and need him to like me and I know that this is a true state of things.” They know they have this power to hold by wanting to hold, and no matter what else life takes away from them it cannot take this away.
Narcissists do not have this power. If there is to be a connection it is only formed by others. Only others have the power. He always asks, “Do they like me now? Does he remember me this morning? Does she love me today? Is anyone paying attention? And now?” There is no power to will love. There is no space inside in which to hold connections over moments. Without power they must manipulate or flirt or preen or fall from fatigue.
There is nowhere inside him to keep the other safe, and when others speak of this inner kind of loving it seems mysterious and dubious to him. “Perhaps they are fooling themselves,” she thinks, or worse still she thinks, “There is something wrong with me!” The shame of narcissism looms on all sides like the chasm around a high-wire walker. Look straight ahead and hope for the other, demand the other, plead for him, engage him, see that he sees. Again now.