Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List Part 15
- Money and the Narcissist
- Treating Your Narcissist
- Forgetting My Self
- What to Tell Your Narcissist?
- Narcissists Hate Happy People
- Sexual Abuse
- Punishing Evil
Money stands for love in the narcissist's emotional vocabulary. Having been deprived of love early on in his childhood, the narcissist constantly seeks for love substitutes. To him, money is THE love substitute. All the qualities of the Narcissist are manifest in his relationship with money, and in his attitude towards it. Due to his sense of entitlement - he feels that he is entitled to other people's money. His grandiosity leads him to believe that he should have, or does have more money than he actually has. This leads to reckless spending, to pathological gambling, to substance abuse, or to compulsive shopping. Their magical thinking leads narcissists to irresponsible and short-sighted behavior, the results of which they believe themselves to be immune from. So, they descend to debt, they commit financial crimes, they hassle people, including their closest relatives. Their fantasies lead them to believe in financial (fabricated) "facts" (achievements) - incommensurate with their talents, qualifications, jobs, and resources. They pretend to be richer than they are, or capable of becoming rich, if they so resolve. They have a love-hate ambivalent relationship with money. They are mean, stingy, and calculating with their own money - and spendthrift with OPM (other people's money). They live lavishly, well above their means. The often go bankrupt and ruin their businesses. Reality very rarely matches their grandiose fantasies. Nowhere is the grandiosity gap more evident than where money is involved.
Treat them as you would children. This is so CLEAR and so endearing. It fosters in many the wish to protect the narcissist from his own delusions or to violently shake him into submission for his own good. The narcissist is like that wide eyed, hands up, Jewish kid in the famous holocaust photograph, his clothes concealing a load of food weightier than he, his fate sealed, his gaze accepting and far. A Nazi SS soldier is pointing a gun at him. It is all in sepia colours and the bustle of everyday death is muted in the background.
I HAD amnesia of myself. I knew next to nothing about who I was, what I did, how I felt. Then, life shattering events handed me the answers. Then I went looking for a label for what I learned about myself.
- I knew nothing.
- I discovered that I knew nothing.
- I studied myself.
- I labeled my findings.
Are labels self fulfilling prophecies? I think that yes, to some extent. This risk DEFINITELY exists. I try to avoid it by interacting with other narcissists and especially with victims of narcissists. I FORCE myself to be as un-narcissistic as I can: help people, empathize, deny selfishness, avoid grandiosity (and I do face temptations).
It is not working. I act out. I lash at the new "Sam". Maybe it is my narcissism fighting the last battle. Maybe I am administering the coup de grace.
And maybe not. Maybe my new found philanthropy is another narcissistic ploy.
The worst part is when you are no longer able to tell the healthy from the sick, your self from your invented self, your will from the dynamics of your disorder.
I would tell him that we are all shaped in our early childhood by people: parents, teachers, other adults, our peers. It is a delicate job of fine tuning. Very often it is incomplete or wrongly done. As children, we defend ourselves against the incompetence (and, sometimes, the abuse) of our elders. We are individuals, so we each adopt (often unconsciously) a different defense mechanism. One of these self-defense mechanisms is called "narcissism". It is the choice not to seek love and acceptance from - and not to give them to - those incapable or unwilling to provide it. Instead, we construct an imaginary "self". It is everything that we are not, as children. It is omnipotent, omniscient, immune, grandiose, fantastic and ideal. We direct our love at this creation. But deep inside, we know that it is our invention. We need others to inform us constantly and persuasively that it is not MERELY our invention, that it has an existence all of its own, independent of us. This is why we look for "narcissistic supply": attention, adoration, admiration, applause, approval, affirmation, fame, power, sex, etc.