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I think I may be a narcissistic, inwardly hating myself. What do I do now?(8 Posts)
NC for this, but long time lurker and some time poster.
Recently been struggling with work relationships, and have always had difficulty maintaining friendships. Basically I'm not very nice. Did a 360 feedback at work to try to establish where my 'development areas' are with the support of my boss and HR. The report reads like I am psychotic. The consultant reviewing it with me said she'd never seen a report like it before and was at a bit of a loss to explain it.
I googled narcissism this evening because I see the term used so often on MN and don't really understand it, except that it's not a compliment. Reading further on real self and false self I recognise so much of myself and what is happening with my work and personal relationships. I read it to dp and he admitted, cautiously, that he can recognise me in a lot of it.
I had a very controlling mother who never played with me as a dc, and I also suffered sexual abuse as a dc. When she was confronted with it (undeniably, caught in the act) she denied it and refused to speak of it. I raised it with her once as an adult and she again denied all knowledge.
Bi-polar runs in the family and I have been terrified I have this, or shades of it. For two decades I've known I don't interact with other people the way other people interact with each other and i dont form lasting friendships. I have had counselling In the past but never felt it got to the core of why I am just simply unlikeable. I Have been variously told that I am controlling, bossy, selfish, aggressive and inconsistent. Nice huh?
I don't want to be me. Has anyone got any experience of dealing with or resolving NPD? Please don't just tell me I'm a bitch. I already know that.
Hmm....the general line is that if you think you have NPD, you don't, because people with NPD lack self-awareness to such a degree that they would never identify with the traits they possess.
Having said that, you clearly find relationships hard. "I Have been variously told that I am controlling, bossy, selfish, aggressive and inconsistent." - was that the feedback in your 360 review? Or is that general feedback. What did your 360 review say?
I think you've had a lot to deal with in life and it sounds like you didn't have very good modelling of appropriate social interaction to learn from. That, combined with the abuse, can explain your behaviour, but that doesn't mean you can't change it.
Do you mind saying how old you are? Do you find that you are very reactive? Do you take time to consider what is said to you or do you panic and say the first thing you think? I have found that as I matured, I realised that I don't have to answer any question or respond to any comment immediately. It's OK to pause and think through your response. By doing that, you can still tell the truth but phrase it in a way that doesn't ruffle feathers.
An example: I was in Carphone Warehouse and a Geek Squad guy was doing a data transfer for me. He'd plugged my old phone into a hub, then my new phone into a different hub. I had seen him do it before and he'd used two sockets in the same hub, so I was pretty sure he had made a mistake. Instead of saying 'isn't that wrong?' or 'aren't they supposed to be in the same one?' I said "Oh that's clever! I didn't realise you could use two hubs at the same time.' He glanced down and saw his mistake, rectified it and said 'thanks for noticing, I would have been wondering why it wasn't working!' It had the same result, but the man was able to discover his error himself and save face.
Thanks for responding.
I'm mid 40's.
The 360 feedback was along those lines, but more politely and corporately phrased. I have had these comments before.
I have been told that if you think you have a personality disorder then you don't. But I find it difficult to accept that one cannot be intelligent enough to recognise that your thought processes are not the same as other people's, that your reactions, responses, and ability to outwardly manage them is monumentally difficult and you often over react, magnify, dramatise etc. and that your behaviour drives people away. I didn't recognise it in my 20's - it's taken twenty years of behaviour pattern to look back and say I'm still making the same fucking mistakes, when will I grow up. When will I learn?
Yes I am very reactive, cannot take criticism, I do try to take time to reflect but a rage descends that is irresistible until I vent it and then I regret it, I'm very passive aggressive. I don't like it, I hear what is coming out of my mouth sometimes and inside I'm thinking stfu stfu STFU! But invariably too late. I feel my responses to some situations are very immature, like a child.
I just don't lik myself much.
It sounds difficult. It can be hard to realise that there are aspects of our personalities that we don't like but are quite ingrained. Generally, we notice our bad points far more easily than the good points.
What are your good points? What positive traits do you have?
This is only a suggestion OP, I'm not experienced in the areas you are describing, but I am in the area of autism.
Women present very differently on the spectrum and you mention interaction issues. Have you tried reading some of these descriptions? It's quite hard as is not as well known about.
Although it really sounds like you had a very difficult time as a child which is bound to have affected you. I wonder if parts of you haven't been able to develop fully from that time?
Please don't 'write yourself off' though. I'm sure if you have an awareness of these things you can work on changing those gut reactions with help.
Oh Dear! I'm sure it all seems a bit hopeless but it really isn't.
Would it help you to think now about (a) how you want to respond to events that trigger the temper and (b) how you want to recover situations.
If e.g. Your boss is giving feedback you don't like then you have to say "Can I have some time to think about this" or "I'm confused about this feedback" or "I'd welcome the chance to talk through with someone how to respond differently"
You also need to be able to return to people and say "Yesterday when we spoke about X, I said "Y", having had time to think about it I think that Z is the case. I'm sorry to have to come back to you with a different answer.
Really the feedback is different aspects of the one point - you like to get your own way, the rest be damned. A lot of people feel like that and the fact you can see it is a good start. But if you want to behave differently then it is up to you. There are loads of good books out there about this (maybe even 7 habits especially the one about seeking to understand before being understood ;-)
You have obviously had very poor role models for handling conflict which is why you are reacting at the age where you got stuck.
Therapy might be useful.
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