Entry #1101
2:18 PM, December 7th, 2010:
While googling the symptoms of "narcissistic personality disorder" it occurred to me, shouldn't that be one of the symptoms? Googling narcissism? :-)
This was all prompted by someone else's therapist diagnosing ME through her description of me. <shrugs> Actually, that doesn't even bother me as I've witnessed first hand how a therapist weaves paths of thought to help their patient... so whatever helps is more than acceptable. It has no affect on me... unless of course that person selfishly calls me and tells me. <shakes head> On Zoe's birthday to boot. Already a very trying and emotional day, and now you have to throw this into my already neurotic brain? Wonderful. With friends like these boy...
So since I'm a sucker for googling symptoms (as we found out last month when I googled HIV symptoms and thought I was DYING) away we go. I hit the first link, took a deep breath and truly readied myself for a big epiphany... 'cause come on, who am I kidding? At first thought, this diagnosis doesn't seem like such a stretch. I mean, it's Adam & The EGOS for a reason, the last thing I can do is sit here and act like I don't think highly of myself. So I figured I'd make an entry about it because most people would absolutely NOT face something this close to home publicly, and well... that's what I do. I was called out, and I'm a big boy and can admit I have some strange wiring issues upstairs. I also apparently have a vagina and like doing goofy tests that you would find in a Glamour magazine about boyfriend compatibility. (sigh)
A person with narcissistic personality disorder:
* Reacts to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
Alright, can easily say this one doesn't apply to me. I BEG for criticism and when I get it I usually share it with everyone I can to get as much information as possible. For example, writing an entry like this. Devil's advocate though: Isn't begging for criticism narcissistic? :-)
* Takes advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
Oh I fuckin' wish I had this. HA. I'm kidding of course, but you can imagine how often these situations come up in show-business and I look back on several moments where I probably could've achieved more if I had been a bit more of a dick. Also, don't you have to achieve GOALS for this to be true? LMAO.
* Has feelings of self-importance
Not so much this year, but in general? Yeah, absolutely. +1
* Exaggerates achievements and talents
Oh my response to this ought to help my case (sigh) "I don't have to." HA. Now I will admit I have the urge to exaggerate achievements in an effort to get further ahead in the industry, but this website really keeps it from happening. I want so desperately to tell the exact happenings of each situation, that I simply cannot exaggerate. No, I can safely say I try more than most to portray the absolute truth.
* Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
This is really grey for me. Preoccupied with being successful? Absolutely. It's the basis of this site. Preoccupied with a fantasy of success? That's where I'm a bit puzzled. Fantasy implies it's not based in reality. I mean, I'm unemployed so I'm pretty preoccupied with finding success. You know? Now, I could give two shits about power or money. I'm certainly not pre-occupied with beauty (as anyone who sees how I dress half the time can attest to). I actually am intelligent and the only time I even think about that is when I'm around those that aren't (ha). And finally, I've all but given up on ideal love. I vehemently believe this doesn't apply to me, but for the sake of being fair, and because I can hear someone arguing that this site is the DEFINITION of pre-occupation I'll make this a +1.
* Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
Absolutely not. Treat me as I treat you, period.
* Requires constant attention and admiration
Spend an hour with me and see how little this holds true. See, this is the one everyone who reads this site that doesn't know me in person assumes right off the bat. I honestly don't want to talk about myself. I want desperately to talk about the other person in almost every situation. I interview the interviewer on job interviews. I'm sick of me. I lack all networking skills because I just want friggin' PEACE when I interact with people. A guy who I play four square with came up to me after a couple of weeks and was like:  "HUH?" when he stumbled upon all the other stuff I do. He thought I just made four square videos. Now I do want to be admired, sure, but from afar and more in the vein of inspiring others to reach for the stars. In person, I'm not sure you can find someone who wants the spotlight on him less. It's just boring to me.
* Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy
Christ, can I get a -5 for this? Regards the feelings of others TOO goddamn much? Empathizes with every single person TOO goddamn much? Seriously, can a writer/songwriter EVER lack empathy? It's the foundation of everything I am.
* Has obsessive self-interest
Well, when I'm alone I do. When I was married I didn't. How the fuck do you answer this? I say the way I interact with others shows that I'm not obsessed with myself, but I do spend a lot of time alone, and again this site is certainly obsessively detailed. Ugh, so again, in the interest of giving all grey areas to having the disorder I'll hand this one over as well. +1
* Pursues mainly selfish goals
<rolling eyes> Nothing vague about this. Again, when I'm alone and don't have a job? I am absolutely focused on selfish goals. This site is about striving to make it in this industry, and since I don't presently have a wife that I can focus on? I guess I'm mainly pursuing selfish goals. Devil's Advocate on this one? I've always felt that everyone pursues selfish goals, people just have different turn ons. If you're turned on by volunteering at a soup kitchen and I'm turned on by writing and sharing a song, you can argue that in the end we're both getting the same thing out of it. We're both doing what we want and expressing ourselves. Either way, in the interest of being fair, as a single man this is +1
Alright, so how did I do? As a single man I have roughly 4 out of the 10 traits for this disorder (though I could easily argue that to 2). And in a marriage it is undoubtedly 2 out of 10. Even though I clearly don't have the disorder, I don't even want to be narcissistic at all. On paper (errr, monitor) I can see how I am, but it just doesn't hold water in person. The truth is, I wouldn't be doing my job if I wasn't constantly trying to find a way to be successful in this industry. It is absolutely a self-driven, self-centered business. These are the talents I was given, I'm trying to do right by them. However when it comes to interpersonal relationships? It's not even close. I mean, why do you think I maintain friendships for so long? I care deeply for others, honestly to my own detriment. Now, the irony of the person who brought this up to me is that she might be second only to Donna with how many hours I devoted to explaining and reexplaining things to help her understand how I felt. I care deeply for her, and feel responsible for many of the heartaches she has felt. I never cut myself off to her when she needed me to talk, I tried desperately to reframe our conversations so maybe she would understand... didn't matter. In fact, it made things worse. The truth is, it was her selfish need for me to fit her mould that made it so dramatic and difficult. Ending with calling me in the middle of the night knowing Jess was having her baby later that morning to lay all this crap on me...
In the end it's all a matter of experience. We're all narcissists as babies and then you get your ass handed to ya. I guess she hasn't had enough of that yet. The more you experience failure, the more humbled you become... and pretty soon you stop judging so much and just worry about survivin' and surrounding yourself with loving people that love you for who you are. And I know that sounds clichéd, but it has a renewed meaning to me that has taken decades to fully understand. Loving someone for who they are means when they say "I can only be your friend", you hug them and thank them for their friendship. You don't badger them for not being able to be more. It's like screamin' at a dude in a wheelchair that won't walk... FOR YOU. God that's the best analogy ever...
Her:  "Why can't you walk for me!"
Me:  "I'm broken."
Her:  "So you're never gonna walk again?"
Me: "Didn't say that, don't know that, I just can't walk now."
Her:  "You're gonna walk for somebody else."
Me: "I may, but what the fuck does that have to do with it? I can't walk now."
Her:  "And in the meantime, you're gonna park in ALLL the handicapped spaces you can find."
Me:  "Of course I am. That's the only advantage of being in a wheel chair."
Her: "You won't even TRY to walk for me."
Me: "It hurts. When it stops hurting? I'll try to walk."
Sounds crazy, right? Except I'm the crazy one for having that discussion for two years and thinking I could explain it a bit better to her this time and not get shit on. Dumbass. It's funny, looking at it now? That list of symptoms does seem to apply here... just not for the dude in the wheelchair. <shakes head> Whatever, not my place - that's for her and her therapist to deal with. I'm out.
And yes, I mean OUT. A rarity. No open door, no open line of communication, no happy peace - she doesn't deserve that - fuck that. Sick of being badgered... and of all the days to do it! SO SELF-CENTERED. You've got to Let Them Drown.
That's two cut-offs in as many months after a lifetime of keeping the line of communication open. I'm not sure if that's a sign of regressing or growing, but there's no longer an alternative. I'm not strong enough to put up with the shit anymore. Can we please start 2011 now?
PS - Happy Birthday Zoe! See you soon!