"Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." ----- Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, 13th century Sufi poet.

"Have faith that people do their best. I don't know anyone who would eat with pigs out of a trough in a muddy barnyard if he knew that a well-prepared meal was on the table in a clean house - do you?" Greg Baer

"The Secret in healing Narcissism is not to heal it at all, but to listen to it. Narcissism is a signal that the soul is not being loved sufficiently. The greater the Narcissism, the less love being given." ~ Thomas Moore, 'Care of the Soul'.

Q. Is it really possible to heal NPD?

A. Anything is possible. You do not have to be a negative statistic on a probablity curve of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Heal NPD :: Open Topic :: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain
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TcBrown
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When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 15:56:06 WedMay 4 2005 )

I've been contemplating a lot the idea from Stephen Levine that , "Shut away alone in an upstairs room in those early years and feeling sorry for yourself tends to make one rather narcissistic. The whole world shrinks to the size of your pain, a very tight fit. Only you alone are left to protect yourself and the world from catching fire. When you are excluded from your family, you have to create your own religion."

While writing this just now my mind drifted in time back to when I was 10 and 11 years old, calling in false fire alarms on my friend and neighbor's house. In a way there was a fire, its just that it was lost in the world created by my own pain and n o one else was able to see, let alone understand the fire. An emotional fire of this nature can define one's existence, and lead us to view the entire world from our pain.

I see now how in various ways through the years I have brought other unsuspecting people into my world of pain. Sometimes in hopes of being rescued, often just because I was so confused and hurt that I had no awareness of what I was doing or how it might affect other people. When pain is what gives you your identity, its terrifying to even contemplate letting go of the attachment to this pain, while at the same time being too terrified to experience the pain for what it is. Somewhere in this muddled guamire we might see the birth of what some refer to as NPD.

Recently I had a discussion with a professional who knew someone on the task force which was defining Axis II disorders for the DSM IV. Our discussion was in reference to Asperger's Syndrome. He told me that his friend said there was a heated discussion among the members of the task force whether to classify Asperger's as a personality disorder or a developmental disorder. Eventually it was classified, I believe correctly, as a developmental disorder. This disucssion got me thinking about the way that we think about this "disorder" we call NPD.

Once again I believe the DSM to be a classic example of unempathic judgments, and one which has perhaps harmed those with NPD and their loved ones in how it is classified. If one understands this disorder as a person's world shrinking to define their world, it seems to me this is a very strong developmental issue, I defer use of the term disorder. Once a person has experienced the kind of trauma that leads us to define our existence in pain, we are no longer able to experience the seemingly normal developmental stages others go through. Healing means in many ways to go back in our emotional development and experience the things we were deprived of by our wounds.

I have only recently begun to experience many of the normal developmental stages that a child should have received as they grew up in an unconditionally loving family. There is no doubt that by defining my world through my pain I not only missed out on emotional development, but it affected areas such as how I performed in school. I now think of myself as emotionally stunted rather than having ever experienced a disorder. I believe this is a rather key step in moving past my pain as I see by releasing the judgment of disorder, I am able to go back and heal the wounds and go through many of the developmental stages a healthy child needs to experience.

Its kind of a scary process but one I would never give up. I am tired of allowing my pain to define the world I live in.



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Have faith that people do their best. I don't know anyone who would eat with pigs out of a trough in muddy barnyard if he knew that a well-prepared meal was on the table in a clean house - do you? Greg Baer.
 
 
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 17:09:36 WedMay 4 2005 )

Your words speak to me. First of all, the idea of the world shrinking to the size of my pain...that is a great way to put it.

Peer abuse, among other types, made me grow up reactively. I was always pained and seeking a way of deflecting it (or inviting more). But if I could step back as an adult and relive those moments, I would be able to accept the pain...and move on, grow up.

Everything in my life has been defined by my being hurt and trying to avoid it. Through avoidance. Through ambition and being better than everyone else.

Something that has been hard for me but what is helping, is looking back at the kid who didn't grow up properly and FORGIVING him. He did the best he could. I did the best I could.

The idea of re-parenting myself got me livid at first. My first reaction was "why the hell should I do to myself what millions of others had responsibly from their parents? Why shouldn't my parents have the responsibility right now?"

Well, many reasons. Perhaps they did the best they could. Or perhaps they could not do it. Maybe they had no business being a parent.

But no one else can do the reparenting. Sometimes we look to friends and lovers to reparent us. This is where our sense of entitlement can come from. 'You love me? Well parent me, damnit.' They, inevitably, grow tired, confused at our behavior. We've got to do it ourselves. Yes, someone should have parented us correctly and with love. But they didn't. We've got to hug that young child in ourselves, tell him/her that he/she is WORTH the hard work that is ahead. And then start the reparenting.

Hopefully this can let the world expand a bit. Accept and remove the pain and the world will grow.

  
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 21:38:02 WedMay 4 2005 )

Interesting topic. I guess we all have to reparent ourselves. Only trouble for me is, I've been parenting myself ACTIVELY since I was 14 years old, when my mother died. I was screwed up before then, but then I went into survival mode. But the person I'm maddest at is : tada: myself. Dad didn't event TRY to PRETEND to be there for us. I don't even get to be mad at him 'cause well... he just wasn't there. "He couldn't help it." "He was grieving". "He'd lost his job and his wife." He even used to say "It should have been me." Great help to an adolescent whose just lost HER home and HER mother and HER friends and HER security.

He wasn't even man enough to let me get angry at him. For being so passive and useless and shrivelled up all of a sudden. No more Mr. Big Shot now. And definitely no more Daddy who I used to run to open the door for when I was a little kid.

So. I dealt with the Doo doo, the adolesecent b**ls**t of being " too smart" and "ugly" and "nerdy" all by myself. Periods. School. "Friends". The housework (and he and my brother were, to put it kindly - PIGS.) I was even proud of myself, for not complaining, for surviving. Until the breakdown.("Depression" is too kind a word for what I went through.)

But when that happened, I got MAD. At myself, for letting me down. For being too d*****d weak to even function anymore. I just shut out the world, and my "self" and got mad at myself, at the motherfather I should have been to myself. To be honest, none of it would have bothered me if other people hadn't kept insisting that there was something wrong with this. Like I had "deserved" anything better. Like love, or support, or some such nonsense.

I decide. I have the power of life and death over myself because let's face it, no one else ever bothered.

I've seen glimpses of another world, where people are alive. I do not live in that world. this is what I am not worthy of, and this is what I deny myself. Because it's what I (real me) wants the most. So false me (motherfather me) says: "nanananaana you can't have it." The world is the size of our pain. Or our pain is the size of the world.

Normally I'd say sorry for the rant or some such nonsense. But it helps to get it out there, however fragmented the form.

Cheers for listening,

Steely

  
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Steely
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 21:43:23 WedMay 4 2005 )

Oh damnit all, it's double post. Please delete one! i can't do it.

  
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TcBrown
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 22:29:53 WedMay 4 2005 )

Steely, there is nothing to apologize for in expressing your true feelings. That is what we are here for. If the truth of our pain is upsetting to others, well, I suggest they look inside themself for the cause of that upset. We make no claims to this healing being something which is enjoyable to watch from the sideline, as once again our world shrinks to the size of our pain.

As I read the replies here, and reflect on my own life, my mind is drifting toward the concept of the Narcissistic family. Something we haven't really talked about a lot in this community, but I know is very much the case within my family. In a family where there is emotional, physical or sexual abuse, addiction, mental illness, death or serious illness, among other things, each person experiences in their own way the world shrinking to be a tight fight around their pain. There is no room within what should be our natural support system for family members to see, feel and help others heal their wounds because they are all so lost in their own world. This is not to say the entire family will develop NPD. Some may bring the world around their pain in the form of being a victim, or codependent, or addiction and high risk behavior, etc.

In my family there is a growing feeling all the six surving kids grew up in different worlds - with our parents in their own worlds. My Mother brought the world around her pain in the form of cats (50 at one point), my Father in alcohol, and being a victim of life, my brothers in addiction and various eractic ways, my oldest sister by moving away from it all asap, my middle sister in being the good daughter who had no awareness of anything being wrong, and my other sister with a rather elaborate BPD defense system. Once this occurs we are all on our own. None of us have experienced unconditional love, and we are all afraid of the outside world, because we believe our inner world is the outside world.

One of the endless stream of mispreceptions around this disorder is that people with NPD made a choice to be this way and take their pain out on the world. In reality the human mind is very resourceful and when faced with trauma of the nature we are experiencing the mind goes into a very elaborate defense system designed to prevent us from being hurt worse than we already are. The results are almost always counterproductive, but in the eye of Ego anything is better than continuing to experience this kind of pain. If we have been emotionally wounded by a parent or special person in our life who tells us they love us, we learn that love is a very painful thing and our defense system is in place to avoid this kind of pain. Later, when we journey out of the home and meet others who say they love us we expect them to hurt us in the same way that we've been hurt by others. As Levine suggests that as with any healing one cannot expect to cover up the wound and not expect it to abcess. NPD is a complex survival mechanism which serves to cover the wound so our child frozen in developmental does not have to face what we simply believe is too painful for any human to face. As the years pass and we fall further behind in our development our wound begins to abcess and it spreads to parts of our lives in ways we cannot control. While we age emotionally we remain frozen in that same stage of development where the trauma occured. Its not that we are evil, we simply lack the skills needed to bring ourselves out of this development , while the abcessed wound continues to deepen and spread.

As we grow older we sometimes develop the ability and willingness to go back and comfort, nurture and unconditionally love the child we really are. Life does not stop for us while this is happening and this complicates our healing as people expect us to give things they need in relationships which are unrealistic because in reality they were never something we had to offer a relationship. The ability to give and receive unconditional love does not happen overnight because one reads a book or within this community that they should love themselves and others unconditionally. Some change can be fairly quick, but loving ourselves at this level requires time as we slowly open ourselves to the outer world and begin to appreciate that instead of being painful, love is really quite beautiful. It is at this time we learn that we have never before experienced Real or unconditional love from our parents, our partners or ourselves. This is why I believe NPD is truly a developmental issue rather than a personality defect or disorder.

Tony



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Have faith that people do their best. I don't know anyone who would eat with pigs out of a trough in muddy barnyard if he knew that a well-prepared meal was on the table in a clean house - do you? Greg Baer.
 
 
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 01:03:17 ThuMay 5 2005 )

Something I've never understood about myself is why I feel tell myself its safe to feel anger and not other emotions? It seems like others are doing this same kind of thing. I think I see how I bring the world around my pain, but I think anger is a strange way to show this because the more angry I become the more others are apt to irritate my wound. Maybe its the other way around? The more others irritate my wound the more angry I become, either way the result is pretty much the same. I'm alone in my little world wanting help and all others usually see is a very mad little boy. If I'm sad, I get mad, If I'm feeling insecure, I get mad . . . I guess it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me that anger feels so safe yet I know at some level is f--king destructive.

  
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 01:34:59 ThuMay 5 2005 )

I really appreciate the insight and honesty expressed here. A question which comes to mind is whether you have an awareness of how it affects others to be pulled into your world of pain, or whether you care how it affects others. Perhaps the other person is in their own world of pain, but I think NPDers have a talent, intentional or otherwise, of sucking people into their pain that most other peple don't have.

  
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 14:00:29 ThuMay 5 2005 )

I think NPDers feel more comfortable expressing anger because it usually lacks the intimacy of other emotions. I wouldn't exactly say I'm always comfortable expressing anger, in fact often there is a real fear that if I express my anger is going to leave me vunerable to other emotions. So often I stuff my anger until it reaches the place where there is no room left to stuff it. At this point all holy heck explodes as I left off a little pressure. If my anger was more directed at specific event, and worked through with the person(s) involved it might be considered intimate, but in the height of my NPD days that rarely, if ever happened.

No, I don't think a person with NPD has an awareness of the affect it has on others to be pulled into our world of pain. That would imply we are more in touch with our own feelings and capable of acting outside the paradigm of our pain. The whole idea is that we see all the world from a perspective of our pain, yet have no understanding of what that pain is really teaching us about ourselves or others.



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Have faith that people do their best. I don't know anyone who would eat with pigs out of a trough in muddy barnyard if he knew that a well-prepared meal was on the table in a clean house - do you? Greg Baer.
 
 
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 14:09:44 ThuMay 5 2005 )

Well, I think NPD is a very social developmental disorder, it relies on the responses/emotions of others...and so it is easy to see why non-npders are sucked into the disorder.

In response to Zachery...anger is at the core of most disorders. It is also the easiest emotion to access. Love is a lot harder. Admiration. Joy. These emotions really only exist when there is an absence of anger. I experience anger with a lot of other emotions. Joy, for instance, yes I can feel it. The joy of watching someone I'm jealous of fail and squirm. Mwahahaha. But that is coupled with anger. Joy + anger=envy. Getting past the anger is the hard part.

I think a lot of NPD is being angry and PASSIVE. We are angry, but we don't do anything about it. We feel entitled. We expect others to help out. They don't. (How can they if we don't reach out to them?). We get angrier.

Anger is normal, but it is a powerful passive tool. You can stay angry for long periods of time. It is internally powerful (all those nasty thoughts, resentments, jealousy keeps you fueled for a long time, grrr I'm getting angry right now just thinking of anger...grrrr) but doesn't have much power outside the body. If we're angry, we should do something about it, right? (Not violence, that is just wrong). Taking action negates anger (and not just fleeing, that is passive as well). But it's easier to stay passive, entitled, and wallow in our anger. It's a very familiar feeling to us. Most people in their developmental stages learned to get past the anger. We really haven't.

Just some thoughts. I'm gonna stop writing cuz I'm getting all angry. :biggrin:

  
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Re: When the whole world shrinks to the size of your pain ( 17:40:12 ThuMay 5 2005 )

Anger is a strange emotion. If you think about a baby or small child when they are upset, sad, confused, sick, they cry. Crying is the way they express themselves and their needs to the world. I think we NPDers have never really gotten to a point where we know another way of expressing ourselves other than letting the world know we are upset, and we do this most easily by anger or rage. This would appear to be consistent with the ideas here that we are severely stunted in our development, rather than suffering from a disorder.

  
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