Reluctant Echo

I’m a narcissist magnet. Not just your run-of-the-mill self-centered jerk, but men with full-on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s a difficult disorder to explain, but this site does a good job, though it is a LOT of information. Essentially someone with NPD lacks the ability to empathize. They are extraordinarily insecure, and yet paradoxically believe they are better than everyone else, demigods. They tend to have terrible boundaries, because they don’t get the concept of Self and Other. It’s like they never grow out of the terrible twos. They build people up, then knock them down, sometimes overtly, sometimes very subtly and gradually. They are 10 percent of the population. Most are men. And boy do they love me.
Most of the time I can spot and dismiss them instantly. Their braggadocio or whining or constant need of attention or obvious belief the world revolves around them is apparent and extremely off-putting. Unfortunately, some are very good at hiding the negative aspects of the personality disorder—with charm, with wit, with adoration, with seeming kindness and caring—the true wolf in sheep’s clothing. Everyone around these charming NPDs thinks they are the best folks around, salt of the earth, every man’s friend. Sometimes, these slip through.
The good news for me is that I’m not a great Echo, and I’m learning from bad experience, so eventually I do see through it and escape or they reject me for failing to worship them. Still, this particular sort of magnetism is disconcerting. And I’d really rather not ride this rollercoaster again.
It seems the best way to avoid it in the future is to be more discerning, less trusting, attentive to signs of insecurity. It turns out, I’m not cynical enough. Yet.

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4 Responses to Reluctant Echo

  1. I have decided to write a narcissistic response, where I try to give advice about you, but wind up talking about me…
    Here is the you part:
    I wouldn’t make the jump to full-fledged cynicism just yet when you can experience the sheer glee of putting someone through a gauntlet first.
    Here is the me part:
    Before our first date, my now-wife made me hand over at least two types of photo ID and my social security number. Then she lined up every best good girlfriend she had ever had and made me walk up and down the line until I had approval from all of them. Even the man-haters. I had a score card and they all had little stamps they would apply to it. And if I made a joke they didn’t think was funny or if I stared at that barista in a way that gave off a creepy vibe, no stamp for me. This continued until my spirit was broken.
    Only then was I allowed enough magic best good girlfriend stamps to declare the “Bingo!” of love. The next morning, we were married.
    And I think every man should suffer as I have. Because I do not want to suffer alone. And if I’m not alone, how can that truly be narcissism?

  2. courtney says:

    Ha! Yeah, if I ever decide to date again, I’m flying the fellow to Dallas first thing so you and Christie can do a thorough inspection.

  3. Sheni Fonler says:

    Oooh. I love the title of that book. “Malignant Self Love.” It has a lovely ring to it.
    Personally, I think becoming cynical and untrusting is the only way to win. You’ve got to make sure no one ever gets close to you ever again. That’s the message I plan to convey to my children from birth.

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