Hello, Demon. How are you?

I realized a couple of things about myself lately.

1) I´ve gone through a few days of utter frustration and dissatisfaction, where I wanted to either beat the shit out of someone or someone to beat the shit out of me. I understand now what those two wishes have in common: I wanted to lose control. I´m an extremely controlled person, normally. According to a teacher of mine, I´ve been like that even as a child (at least in school, it would seem). This applies both to normal life and my behavior in the bedroom, but especially to the latter. I´m typically very stoical. I don´t show many feelings (though I say openly what I´m feeling). I sort of enjoy myself from a distance. It´s part of why I can be very unselfish and put my partner´s needs first. What I get out of this, among other things, is a sense of accomplishment. It´s similar to the flow experience of writing an extremely strong scene in a story where every word seems to be just right. The comparison is getting old, but being a sadist really is a bit like being an artist. A director, maybe, orchestrating a perfect drama. Sometimes, though, I ache to throw away my self-control and go batshit on someone. I used to think that I shouldn´t flatter myself by calling myself unselfish in bed because I do enjoy myself, after all, even though my entire focus is on my partner, but compared to what appear to be my actual needs I´m very unselfish. I just didn´t realize I had these needs. Anyway, I´m sorry I´m bugging my readers with all these details on a blog that originally was about mental health. I always feel sort of bad doing that, but separating this part of my life from my soul-searching and constant reflecting never worked for me. Again, sorry.

2) This self-control is not just self-control. It also controls me. I feel like I cannot be less rigid. That also makes me feel, though, as if I don´t really have emotions. Otherwise I´d sure have emotional outbreaks at times? It´s part of why I want to lose control. Actually, I kind of idealize losing control, as if it would make me more real or more authentic. My feelings would seem so much more justified to me if I lost it sometimes. Like: If I can´t help yelling at someone, then he sure must have done something bad to provoke me. If I can still control myself, then it can´t be that bad. Writing it down I realize what sick kind of logic this is. What would follow, after all, is that the worse my reaction is, the more the other person has deserved it. So if someone angers me enough for me to murder him, he sure must be a bad person? Weird idea. Still, though, it leads to me thinking my lack of uncontrollable emotional reactions invalidates my emotions as such. My mother once said to me that she never believed in any of the emotions I display, other than fear. Indeed, my anxiety attacks are the one thing I cannot control. Most of the time I feel like I have a choice whether I want to express my emotions or not, and when I decide to do so, I feel like an actor. Like I´m simply trying to create drama. Or maybe like I´m being needlessly mean, especially when my emotion is anger. Expressing anger feels like a conscious decision to be evil. I think: If I´m not already fuming, if I haven´t spontaneously expressed my anger already, then maybe I´m not actually angry enough to warrant expressing it? I´m still not really sure if I just have an out-of-control self-control, or if my emotions are just more shallow than those of others.

3) My self-control is not just a burden. It also gives me something. Like a sense of accomplishment. Generally, it´s a very instinctive thing. I wouldn´t normally express feelings of insecurity or admit I´m scared of something. I just do stuff. I take my exams. I go to job interviews. I don´t admit I´m scared, not even to myself. In fact, all too often I don´t even know if I´m scared or not. If anything, what I feel is: “I don´t want to do this!”. I always looked down upon classmates who went hysterical before a test. Even when I was nervous, it was clear to me I would never admit it. I didn´t even know why. Wearing your heart on your sleeve seemed dumb to me, end of. Self-control was what distinguished me from others. It was a source of superiority. Maybe, if I do want to dig deeper after all, I felt that the teachers were enemies who wanted to make us afraid to manipulate us into learning. Which is undoubtedly true on some level, though it might be a slightly cynical view on the educational system. At any rate, I didn´t want them to be able to manipulate me, and if they were, that is, if I was frightened, I refused to show it. I guess sometimes I actually told myself I enjoyed learning even when I didn´t, just so I didn´t have to live with this shame. By the way, there was a time when I refused to cry even when I physically hurt myself. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be above people who were “soft” and vulnerable. I still have many of those traits. I measure myself according to stricter standards than those I measure others by, but I take pride in that. Or would, if I felt that I meet my standards. I don´t. I still cannot let go of them, though.

4) Because of the paragraph above, I understand why I would be labeled a narcissist. In what way it might be true, even. The thought of being manipulated and being made vulnerable, the thought of looking needy, the thought of people thinking that I lack something makes me feel extremely angry and extremely humiliated. I´d go to great lengths to avoid that, including yelling at people. As a kid, I´d even yell at adults, strangers. So, I actually do lose control, or at least I did, and I was so ashamed of it I hardly could bear the memory of that.  I essentially react with outrage to anyone claiming I´m weak. So essentially, my main concern in life, or my most important priority, was to avoid a specific narcissistic injury. I can see why someone like that might be called a narcissist.

5) The main narcissistic injury about being a narcissist is that it means I´m needy. I´m in need of a positive self-image, a very specific self-image. Being in need of anything, leave alone something petty as a heroic self-image, though, contradicts the very self-image I need so much. I´ve been semi-aware of this for a long time, and my solution was that I needed to stop needing that self-image. If I stopped needing that self-image, I´d stop being a narcissist and I could feel good about myself (oh, the irony!). Now I think that the real problem with me is not that I need a positive self-image, not even a specific one. This actually seems to be a fairly common human need. A narcissistic need we all have, so to say. If we feel like bad persons, we feel guilt or shame and we want to avoid that. The problem is that I deny myself the right to have any narcissistic needs, and paradoxically I do that for the sole purpose of fulfilling them.

6) I thought that if I ever found out I´m a needy, “pathetic” narcissist the shame of it was going to kill me. This was before I found out that wanting to be able to look at oneself fondly is not shameful in itself. It is a basic human need that is frequently used to hurt people. What makes me a narcissist, if anything, is my obsession of not wanting to lose face and look weak and dumb, and if wanting to not be ashamed of myself, even to like and be proud of myself, is normal and forgivable, not a personal weakness of mine, then I can integrate it into my self-image. I can “own” that need and recognize when people toy with it. Acknowledging it does make me stronger – which might be the primary reason why I´m interested in doing so.

7) The desired self-image still has its hold on me. What I´m doing here I´m at least partly doing on its behalf. It won´t simply go away, and I´m not sure I´d let it. Maybe it´s even an alright ideal to have, or an alright image to cultivate. The value of what I found out today, though,  is that whenever I find myself tempted to lie to myself about how well I´m corresponding to my self-image, I can remind myself that it´s no shame to want to be something. It´s no shame to want to feel good about yourself. It´s nothing I need to earn by already being who I want to be. And if I want to feel good about myself, as long as I´m not harming anyone else in the process I can just go out there and make me feel good about myself. Even if I´m only dreaming. I don´t need to punish myself for being flawed. I don´t need to shame myself for having narcissistic needs.

 

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2 Responses to “Hello, Demon. How are you?”

  1. Hi there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this website.

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