I read an article today while flying back home from a workshop. It was called, “What it means when a Narcissist says ‘I Love You.” As I read through the article, I found myself increasingly getting angry. Why? Because it reminded me of a past relationship. Each bullet point highlighted my deepest pains over the course of a two year period. Drenched in self efficacy and in a self aggrandizing way, I told myself I had “forgiven” her. I’ve read every self help article about “forgiveness being more about you and less about them,” and bought into the idea that all was well within me. It’s funny how the universe will give you test after test to validate or destroy your beliefs.
Anyways, as I continue to read, I started to wonder, “What would make someone act in a narcissistic way?” How could someone, anyone, operate so selfishly in a world that demands collaboration and cooperation to survive?
The word that comes to mind, that answers this pervasive riddle? Entitlement.
Many of us have been raised with the idea that we are special. That sense of being different, of being unique has separated many of us from this all encompassing truth: We are not special snowflakes. We all are a part of the human condition. We sleep, eat, shit, fight and fuck like every other human, dare I say, every other mammal on the planet.
The problem is, many of us think and feel that we are NOT like the rest of the world. While the majority of our species lives in dangerous environments, literally fighting to stay alive on a day to basis, we, the blessed ones of the civilized world, do not.
We have forgotten what humanity’s true nature is because we are far removed from it. We have forgotten that life, by design, is hard. As a result, we feel that the natural state of the world is ease. We seek, with reckless abandon, the pursuit of pleasure, or at the very least, the absence of pain. Therefore, the lense through which we view the world is skewed. Our expectation that a life without conflict is the norm has set us up for failure. It has made entitled, whinny children of us all.
The article about narcissism angered me initially because it made me mad at her. Upon further reflection, however, my anger wasn’t truly with her (well, not solely.) My anger was with myself. I was an active participant in a tumultuous relationship. I was codependent. I chose to be romantically intertwined with someone who wasn’t capable of true connection and empathy. I therefore became entitled in my own way. I expected the laws of nature to bend to my whiny will. I wanted change, but wasn’t willing to leave the relationship in order to achieve it. I expected someone to give me emotional stability when A. They didn’t have the capacity and B. That wasn’t their responsibility in the first place.
The bottom line is this: Personal responsibility equals true salvation. You are not a victim. None of us are. Despite our circumstances, we are responsible for how we interrupt it and what we do with it.
To be clear, I do not say this to be insensitive to those who TRULY suffer from trauma. In such circumstances, the help of professionals may be needed to help one surmount the misfortunes they have faced. Yet even then, ones personal responsibility to seek help is still the only way out of such hell. To blame others for our lack of happiness and our unfair circumstances rob us of our true power and thus our true freedom.
YOU are not special. YOU are responsible for YOU. The stark realization of this universal fact unlocks the key to a fulfilled and meaningful life.