‘Why Is It Always About You? Saving Yourself from the Narcissists in Your Life’

This is an excellent book by Sandy Hotchkiss.

I heard of it from Dr. Stephen Marmer, a psychiatrist, who was speaking on Dennis Prager‘s radio show.

Like most narcissists, I became one to overcome early childhood shame.

Feeling superior and exempt from the rules enabled me to charge into life. Sure, many disasters followed, but that’s a small price to pay for my free blogging.

I suffer from a lack of boundaries. I want to take whats mine and stick it into someone else. Not good.

Boundaries is one of the things that attracted me to Judaism. Lots of boundaries there, particularly in Orthodox Judaism. Boundaries is one of the things that attracted me to… She had such firm pert boundaries. Made me feel safe.

I knew the score.

Sandy Hotchkiss writes on page 162:

Intuitively, we recognize that we need secure parameters in order to function effectively, yet we routinely ignore boundaries or view them as obstacles to overcome. Science has allowed us to defy gravity, transcend time and space, slow aging, cheat death, and even create life. We have been seduced into believing that there should be no limits, yet without them there is chaos and unreality. The current recipe for innovation involves "thinking outside the box," and a modern cowboy who defies the rules is still our idea of a hero. The need to be grounded in reality seems stuffy and old-fashioned by comparison. We prefer images of unlimited possibilities that feed our grandiosity and omnipotence, creating the illusion that we can, and should, have it all.

From page 165:

The younger generation’s lack of respect for adults has a parallel in what might be called the secularization of the spiritual, the rejection of religions that are based on the authority of God in favor of a spirituality that is more pantheistic and self-determined. …[T]he dominant spiritual presence of the late twentieth century has not been God but rather some exalted form of Me.

The narcissistic individual’s great difficulty bowing to outside authority may explain the popularity of the kind of spiritualism that emphasizes the deity within, one’s own internal "higher power." Whether this represents a pinnacle of moral development or an exercise in infantile grandiosity varies… When that higher power is just Me playing God, it is easy to fool oneself and fall into moral laxity.

From page 166:

The fact that we have become so confused about right and wrong is another sign of the narcissistic times, a reflection of our difficulty functioning as adults. It is as if our collective conscience is not fully formed, and we are caught up in fantasies of grandiosity and omnipotence to protect ourselves from the shame of having to admit our own mistakes.

As a society, we have a lot of trouble with the issue of personal accountability. We tend to think like small children, looking for someone else to blame when things go wrong. Consider how often the most sensational lawsuits are those against a large, powerful industry such as gun manufacturers or tobacco companies. These cultural icons represent the Big Bad Daddies on whom we project our needs for omnipotence. We envy their power, and if we buy a gun or smoke a cigarette, we feel more powerful ourselves. Since our grandiosity tells us that we are entitled to a risk-free world, the Big Bad Daddies are supposed to guarantee our safety even though we know that guns and cigarettes kill. The wounds we suffer when reality intrudes are as much narcissistic as corporeal. We can’t bear the shame of lost omnipotence and betrayed grandiosity, and we lash out in a retaliative rage.

From page 180:

It is a symptom of our narcissistic times that adult cravings for sexual stimulation are so blatantly allowed to undermine a wholesome environment for children. Concerned parents must guard against the tendency to feel overwhelmed and confused by, or indifferent to, these influences. Even if you cannot fully protect your child from sexual overstimulation (and you can’t), your willingness to try creates a kind of boundary that children can internalize as a self-protective barrier. Children need all the protection we can offer from that which they are developmentally unready to handle.

From page 182:

In addition to love, all children need these things, from birth to emancipation: consistency, structure, good boundaries, empathic attunement, and someone to be an adult. They need to know who is in their family and who is not, what place or places they can call home, where and when they are supposed to eat and sleep, what are the rules of conduct of the household and to whom they apply (roles and responsibilities), what belongs to them and what does not. They need to be taught what their own personal boundaries are, who can violate them, and under what circumstances. They need to understand also that others have personal boundaries that need to be respected. They need to know whom they can depend on to meet each of their needs: who will comfort them when they are hurt or sick or frightened, who will protect them when they are in danger, who will provide them with the necessities of life, who will teach them what they need to know to become more self-reliant. The sum total of these "knowings" constitute the boundaries of their lives.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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