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Everyone, or nearly everyone, will have heard or read the tale of Narcissus and Echo from Greek mythology… essentially,
“Narcissus, in Greek mythology, the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. He was distinguished for his beauty. According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book III, Narcissus’s mother was told by the blind seer Tiresias that he would have a long life, provided he never recognized himself. However, his rejection of the love of the nymph Echo or (in an earlier version) of the young man Ameinias drew upon him the vengeance of the gods. He fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring and pined away (or killed himself); the flower that bears his name sprang up where he died. The Greek traveler and geographer Pausanias, in Description of Greece, Book IX, said it was more likely that Narcissus, to console himself for the death of his beloved twin sister, his exact counterpart, sat gazing into the spring to recall her features.”
As with many other tales of its kind there are different versions depending upon whom is doing the telling. It is a tragic tale to be sure but one that is not uncommon in its motif.
In modern parlance it gave us the word Narcissist, first recorded as being used somewhere between 1920 and 1930 it seems that it is a thoroughly contemporary word.
Narcissism, Narcissist and Narcissistic Personality Disorder are defined as;
Narcissism (noun [U])
Too much interest in and admiration for your own physical appearance and/or your own abilities
Narcissist (noun [C])
Someone who has too much admiration for himself or herself
Narcissistic personality disorder (noun [C or U]) specialized.
A personality disorder in which someone has too much admiration for himself or herself and too much concern with his or her own importance.
So, we make the transition from a tragic Greek myth to a modern reality that is as disturbing and destructive as anything else we face in modern society.
There is a splendid article available at Reach Out Recovery that deals with the 10 ways a narcissist takes control of people, it represents, in specific detail, the toxic effects a narcissist has on those around them and, more importantly, on the person they decide best suits their personal need or hunger.
It’s a word that is used frequently but not always in the proper context and it is important to define, and decide, when you are in the sphere of a true narcissist or just in the “fall out affected zone” of someone’s self-serving rhetoric.
Within our particular culture, as it is with all situations and social groupings in the world, we are exposed to some level of this toxicity every day that we are here, it’s no different than being exposed to it at school, in the workplace, in leisure activities or even, heavens forbid, in the home.
What can you do about it? Shield? Fight back? Run away? That’s a decision that each must make for themselves but one of the important things is that the most important thing in avoiding a trap is knowing of its existence.
Many of you will already, just in reading this, have had a name pop into your mind of someone you think is a narcissist… are they a real narcissist? Are they a common garden variety narcissist? Are they a dangerously enslaving type of narcissist? Are they suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder? They are difficult distinctions to make but the one thing that is certain, when you get hit by one you’ll know all about it.
Making yourself aware of the ways that a true narcissist works, the way they manipulate and manoeuvre is very important.
In 1930 Dion Fortune (a.k.a. Violet Mary Firth) published her seminal work “Psychic Self Defence”. This book came from her own experiences in her occult work. Fortune had witnessed various instances of “psychic attack” which she was called on to interrupt. Among the elements of a psychic attack, she noted, was “vampirism” that left the victim in a state of nervous exhaustion, and a wasting state. From this Fortune propounded an occult perspective on vampirism. She suggested that masters of the occult had the ability to separate their psychic self from their physical body and attach themselves to others and drain the host’s energy. Such persons would then begin to, unconsciously, drain the energy from those around them.
If you read this summary alongside the article on narcissism you will notice a great similarity between the two. That’s not to imply that ALL PsyVamps are narcissists – au contraire, I know some lovely non-narcissistic PsyVamps indeed… all I am suggesting is that perhaps there is some correlation between the two, some point where the two may overlap.
So, can narcissism lead to more serious things? Indeed it can…
For instance, in the article, “10 Ways Narcissists Take Control” (which actually comes under the heading of abuse) it is pointed out that narcissism can, and has, led to “Smearing and Stalking”, it describes how,
“Toxic narcissists will slander you and report back to your loved ones, their loved ones, and anyone who will listen. They create stories that depict you as abusive and pretend they are the victims of your abuse.”
The author goes on to point out that,
“A smear campaign sabotages your reputation and slanders your name so that you won’t have a support network to fall back on if you decide to detach and cut ties. A malignant narcissist may even stalk and harass you or the people you know as a way to “expose” the truth about you.”
Either way you look at it rampant narcissism can lead, if unchecked, into criminal behaviour that threatens the safety and peace of mind of you, as the narcissist’s object, as well as those around you.
Detach and disassociate, remove yourself from the narcissist’s sphere of influence, warn others about the potential threat and, if necessary, don’t wait to get help with the situation. The true narcissist will attempt to isolate you, make you dependent on them and them feed off you in the most ugly and soul-destroying ways… and they never have to lay one finger on you.
There’s no need to get paranoid and start painting everyone around you as a narcissist, or a narcissist in training but just be aware if someone starts putting their unreasonable demands and pressures on you they might just be “making their move”…and not in a nice way either.
Copyright TB & RVL, 2018
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