Sunday, 3 August 2014

Parade's End

Ever since I learned about Narcissism, I have really struggled to see the difference between selfish and narcissistic. Maybe it's because all the selfish people in my every day life are also narcissistic. However, last week I watched the period drama "Parade's End" and I understood. In the story, there is a character, Sylvia Tietjens, who is selfish, manipulative and cruel, but as far as I could see, a narcissist she is not. There is something brutally honest about the way she doesn't even try to pretend she is anything she's not, and as awful as she is, at least, she's not deceiving herself. I can see that there is hope that someone like that would change, (not that they necessarily would - and indeed, in the story she does not) but a person who does not even admit that they're living for an "image" of themselves that doesn't exist, how can they possibly change?  

8 comments:

  1. I never thought to consider the difference. This makes sense. It also fits with my sister's blog about acceptance. One of the first steps to change is acceptance. If I'm not willing to accept the truth of where I am, I can never see the need to even look for a way out.

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    1. That's a very good point too, Judy.

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  2. Another shade of person is self focused. They can be generous and concerned for others but their over all focus is on their own boundaries and needs. I am learning how many variants there can be with people.

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    1. Thanks Ruth, that's another aspect I hadn't thought of.

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  3. Hi K, it's hard to sort out sometimes. There may be times in people's lives when they need to be more "selfish" or self-absorbed, and I try to make allowance for that in my head, when dealing with friends. Crisis times for people are when I'd expect them to think mostly only of themselves. For me, it's the longer view. I think we can only get to know people over time, and there's a rhythm to normal self-absorption, it ebbs and flows. Those who are truly narcissistic tend to be very consistent. We ACoNs who've been working on this stuff have fine-tuned our radar for some of the differences I think. There's such a wide range, isn't there? xo CS

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    1. Thanks CS, yes, when we look at the long term pattern, it is easier to discern. xx

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  4. Great thought provoking post and comments! It is difficult to discern, as CS mentioned. There are different ways selfishness is expressed (shades - Ruth says) and I guess, if the selfishness is routinely expressed at the expense of my feelings, then that would fall under unhealthy. How consistent and frequent are perhaps an individual boundary/tipping point. xx

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