People say I’m arrogant. And that I’m an attention-seeking guy, requiring excessive admiration. I often fantasize about unlimited wealth, power and success. I like to be seen as a brilliant individual and I want to be associated with high-status people. I truly am… unique. And I’m going to tell you about myself, just to see how special and complex I am.
I felt lonely and unloved as a child; some people rejected or ignored me, others just made me feel inadequate. Just talking about that time makes me feel vulnerable. It was at that time that I felt that somehow I’m unworthy of love, that I don’t deserve to be loved. It’s hard for me to explain this, but I feel it to be true. Despite this, I somehow managed to succeed in life, far beyond of what I thought to be possible. I often think that I’ve been incredibly lucky, and therefore, I’m in a constant battle to keep what I’ve got until now. I constantly fear that I might lose everything and my world is pretty much all the time on the verge of destruction and collapse.
The word I hate most in this world is “average”. Average is not enough, at least not enough to be sure that I’m not losing everything. “Average people” aren’t loved, are not given enough credit; you need to be someone “special” in order to succeed, to be taken into account. It’s “all of nothing” for me. Average means being overlooked, insignificant, expendable. Average means, in the end, loneliness. And I hate it because I know how it feels.
One of the hardest times for me is this period of my life, when I don’t have a job. I feel I’m a failure. I lost my girlfriend, I lost my friends, I lost my social network. I’m no longer the great skilled specialist, but rather a colorless dry individual, with no perspective in life. And I feel such a great envy and humiliation looking at the others that have jobs and are successful… I can hardly sleep at night because of them. And the older I get, the worse it gets.
But you know… I’m not this way… really. I like to think of this period as an accident. Most of the time I’m a highly competitive individual. I am the best in my profession, superior to most of the people I know. I crave for excellence and I’m highly critical of the others. In other words, pretty everybody around me is an idiot, at least at some point in their lifetime, if not all the time. And you know I’m always right.
Now, even if I’m not working for quite a lot of time, I know, deep inside me, that I’m the best. And I like to be treated accordingly. I hate to play the role of the benevolent guy, available for everybody that gives me attention or a small job, while in fact I should be treated like royalty.
I have my moments of loneliness. I feel so empty, so bored and… so sad… I come back to life when someone calls me or needs my advice, but then, I get back to the emptiness. After some time, I learned to avoid these feelings. I try to stimulate myself in all the possible ways. When I had my friends next to me, I was quite a highly active individual: shopping, going to movies, long walks, intense socializing. Now, since I’m alone, I play computer games, watch TV, surf the Internet, read, listen to music, and all this keeps me distracted from the sadness I feel lurking beneath the surface. I even gained weight obsessively eating, but this helps me somehow overcome the stress of isolation.
You’re asking me about love? Well, I’ll be frank: this is a foreign concept to me. I understand what admiration is and enjoy being in the center of attention, but I feel awkward when someone is showing love to me. It is like I’m not able to absorb that love, I cannot receive it. For me, intimate relationships are based on admiration, not genuine love. And I’m so unhappy not being able to satisfy my core need for true love… My first girlfriend was emotionally distant and she had difficulties giving love. I felt comfortable not being loved, because it was somehow fair: I didn’t truly love her either. Then, I somehow became aware that love is missing and that I should change this. My second girlfriend was warm and loving, but I wasn’t able to give back anything; I was just taking and taking, endlessly taking, without reciprocating similar feelings. But this isn’t surprising, since I’m finding it hard to express love or empathy for my closest family members…
What you’ve just read is an inside description of the Narcissistic Personality, using the framework of Schema Therapy. It was particularly difficult for me to write this, for causes that you might suspect.
Paragraph by paragraph, you meet the 3 primary modes of this disorder: the Lonely Child, then the Self-Aggrandizer (the main mode, described in psy books) and the Detached Self-Soother (or the “excitement junkie”). I included the manifestation of the Hidden Narcissist (remember “treated like royalty” above), which isn’t so obvious, as it exists only in the inner fantasy world of the person. In the end, you get the full description of the real drama of the narcissist personality: the inability to love and let the others love you.