Numerous spiritual paths are focused on not being a narcissist. For example, studying the Kabbalah is meant to facilitate overcoming one’s ego. I learned while studying in those realms that ego isn’t always about people who are arrogant and who think they’re the best thing ever. An equally dangerous mode of narcissism and ego is playing the martyr and eternal victim.
Narcissism comes in many forms, and while it may include self-love, it also comes in the form of self-loathing, although it’s always accompanied by selfishness. The three most important people for a narcissist are me, myself and I!
I’m sure that everyone knows at least one person who falls into the category of eternal victim. Their defining characteristic is depression, and they likely engage in endless conversations about their lack-of. There’s always something amiss in their life, be it money, relationships, friendships, the right job, a car, a house, etc. Their entire life revolves around the things they don’t have, and they are never happy, because the list of things they don’t have is endless – year after year after year. It never changes, because their mantra is “not only do I not have x, y, z, but I will never have it.” As soon as they do, in fact, get one thing on the list, they immediately move their focus back to something they don’t have, and hence the cycle never stops.
I remember when I learned that being a martyr or victim was just another form of ego; I felt even worse once I learned that being the “helper” is also a part of ego. After all, I had done all three of them exceptionally well. There are situations and times where one can genuinely claim being a victim – but when we get older and still keep finding ourselves a victim, day in and day out, we can safely assume that we are the ones creating the misery, not our surroundings!
When we see the train wreck coming, and feel compelled to still go there by either forming relationships/friendships with the people we should have avoided or by engaging in the behaviors that will spell more misery, we are acting no different than an addict. A vast majority of narcissists are co-dependent, even though they may appear fiercely independent. Having an obsessive or compulsive need to keep engaging in destructive behaviors is what victim narcissists do exceptionally well. Hence, the bonds they form are either with broken or superficial people. Being addicted to the wrong type is a by-product of being co-dependent!
How does one get out of this cycle? Well, it requires self-realization above all. There has to be a rock bottom which stops the blame game, and shifts the focus onto one’s own actions and one’s own role within one’s life. For some people, the rock bottom never comes. The addiction to being miserable is too powerful, and the circle of people who enable the addict is generally too tight.
However, rock bottom does come for some, sometimes in the form of a powerful knock-you-on-your-butt kind of experience and other times in the form of waking up one day and simply being tired of continuing the same old cycle. Once hitting rock bottom occurs, the healing process can begin. The first step is seeking help from a professional! The narcissistic voice in the head will claim that one doesn’t need any help, because ego’s active interest is to stay alive, and as long as it can blame another, or keep making excuses, its existence is secured.
Leave it to the professionals! There are many tools that help in rewiring a faulty hard-drive. These tools include hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, traditional therapy, meditation and yoga, amongst others. At the end of the day, we all decide the quality of our lives, regardless of what has happened! So, within this spirit I’m going to quote my daily calendar saying for New Year’s Day, from “Getting in Touch With Your Inner Bitch”:
“Your Inner Bitch wishes you ‘Happy-Do-Over!’ There are 365 days to make the life you really want come true – use them wisely!”
11 thoughts on “Self-Loathing and Narcissism: Are You the Eternal Victim?”
My dother is 22 years old and after read the articol and informations that describe the narcicism I’m sure that she suffer from narcicism.She’s very selfish,doesn’t like to be critizied,she allways blame on me and my husband,she doesn’t care if she hurt us ,she’s just for her,shedon’t listen what we tolk with her,she don’t get any device from us.How we can manaje this situation?
Oh, I agree with the fact that a victim is as much a narcissist as someone “obviously afflicted”. But the whole narcissism thing has become inflated to such proportions that now everyone is running round pointing the finger saying “you’re a narcissist, they’re a narcissist, stay away from the narcissist, etc.etc.”. After reading more blogs than I can count on the subject, I have to ask myself, who is this all serving? What is the intended end – that we should all be the same? Absolutely not, because those implying one should hide one’s light under a bushel for fear of being called a “narcissist” would be the last to hide their own light under a bushel. We are not all created alike and some individuals do in fact have good reasons for their self confidence (accomplishments etc), so this whole “anti-narc” crusade seems, ironically, to be a psychological tool used to destabilize the selves even of those we don’t know very well, in order to get ahead. Narcissism is one of those areas like “Customer Service”; the more emphasis and importance one places on it, the worse it gets. I think the term is actually misused quite a lot. Yes, there are those who definetely have something wrong with them. But pointing the finger at everyone reduces the “anti-narc” crusade to just that – to the level of religion. It can get very negativistic at times and also prevent positive interactions if people are so involved in judging whether a person may be “narcissistic” etc. etc. and (especially) don’t know what they’re looking for, that they pick up on the wrong signals from people. This all makes confusion worse confounded. There is too much criticism everywhere and the net result is that everyone reaches a stalemate.
What about if an individual had produced a body of work of which they were rightfully proud, and which shored up their confidence to the degree that it was no longer false – which meant that they were neither MN nor victim? Life is a constant polishing of skills and character, but the most important thing is to focus on positivity. And yes, bestness. Pulling everyone down to the same level is the malaise of society. Society doesn’t want anyone to be better than anyone else, and therein lies its Achilles heel. Because at the end of the day that attitude doesn’t serve anyone.
I don’t know, some people really do get the deck stacked against them. It could be that they get crippled in an accident, or they are can’t reach their potential. To be who you can be requires some support, love & encouragement. Some people don’t get that. What about if you know you need help but it just isn’t there? We all have done stupid things, some are lucky enough to not be haunted by them. Bad luck exists.
The idea that we all decide the quality of our lives is true for most people most of the time. Otherwise if this is truly an absolute I say it’s time to go down to the nearest children’s cancer treatment center & give those “victims” a pep talk! Same thing with people who survive a natural disaster that takes years or decades before life is normal.
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very good psychological study of the subject
Hello Camen: Absolutely Fantastic information and very well written. I think that at some time in each of our lives we deal with narcissium either within or with close friends or family members. What insight you expressed, and thank you for your time in finding the perfect words. Blessings, Lucy 5353
Very well said….. and, professionally, well said.
Yes, everything you stated is what I have been taught by the Psychiatrists as well……traits and clinical disorders are two very different things.
Blessed Be )O(
Gina Rose ext.9500
Very well written article Carmen !
Well.. it is all about ME, MYSELF, and I.. it seems that I used to be the one who always did for everyone around me.. and I also was very foolish because I would LET others hurt me and act like nothing was wrong. I do not care what others think about me, anymore.. I want to be around REAL people with REAL feelings, people who can speak up and be honest, POSITIVE/HAPPY people that shine brightly with a huge smile on their face, people who show integrity and love towards others.. I know there are good people that like me, and those are the people I want in my life – I’m through trying to please those who are SELFISH and who will not give their fair share to me as well.. I will not settle for anything less than GREAT.. I will always LOVE myself and I think that is a wonderful trait.. there a tons of men and women out there who do not even like themselves, I feel sorry for them; it is actually a slap in the face to God!! So.. if people think it’s “selfish” or “bitchy” of me to LOVE myself and put MYSELF first, oh well, so be it!!! I guess I’m a selfish bitch – The Bitch is Back!!!!!! LOL!!!! Great topic, thanks for the laugh – I sure needed it!!! =)))
Interesting article. Having narcissistic traits is one thing, and the behaviors and perpetual me-ism and victim-hood can be ameliorated, as stated, with the person’s recognition of his/her responsibility and a great deal of therapy. However, if the person is over that line that defines a clinical personality disorder, or narcissistic personality disorder, no amount of therapy will change the behaviors or the skewed emotional view of the world. By definition, personality disorders are fixed patterns of behavior and emotion that emerge at a very young age and do not change or respond to therapy. The person truly has an inability to see how they create their own reality. They are generally very insecure though this is not usually evident outwardly because they tend to be rather arrogant and overcompensate for their insecurity by displaying that constant need to be the center of the universe. There are several different personality disorders, among them Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, etc. Incidentally, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is most closely related to Antisocial Personality Disorder, what psychiatrists used to refer to as a Sociopathic Personality. The major difference between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder is the prevalence of fairly serious criminal behavior, often resulting in harm to others perpetrated by Antisocial Personalities. Narcissists have many of the same character defects but are less often found to engage in criminal activity, at least of a nature that intentionally harms other people. The main similarities involve an complete self absorption to the point that they have no ability to empathize with another human being. They really cannot put themselves in another person’s shoes to see how another might feel and they don’t care about other people. They tend to be very intelligent people and have lifelong patterns of disrupted relationships,usually burning their bridges with family and friends. They are often very lonely people and cannot understand the camaraderie others seem to enjoy.
They lead very separate, isolated lives, whether they live alone or with a host of people. This stems form an inability to connect with others in any real way. Interestingly, they can also be quite charming…when they want something from you.
Very sad people.