T.S. Eliot, the great prescient poet wrote in “The Hollow Men”: We are the hollow men, We are the stuffed men, leaning together…Our dried voices, when we whisper together are…meaningless…”
Eliot intuited the ascendance of the narcissistic personality in our society. That time is now and has been coming, growing to epidemic proportions.
I am in communication with many individuals who are suffering from the rampaging of narcissistic personalities in their lives: daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers and narcissistic fathers, narcissistic siblings, those married to narcissistic spouses. Their pain is deep and continuous as long as they are in contact with and part of the narcissist’s life. They are living too close to an individual who is empty and “hollow” inside and who lives in a way that has no meaning, warmth, empathy or truth.
Narcissists trample on our feelings. They make every effort to destroy what is deep inside of us and gives us meaning. They have overwhelming personalities that are forceful, manipulative and cruel. They constantly lie and exploit those closest to them.
Being the child of a narcissistic mother or father is one of the most painful fates. The narcissistic mother hates genuine feelings, even in her infant. When the child cries she ignores her/him, makes the little one feel ashamed, screams and threatens the child if he does not “shut up.”
Those married to narcissists are continuously gaslighted–told that they are crazy, especially if they express deep feelings of sadness, fear, joy, anger, etc. No feelings are allowed in this household–except for the narcissist who bubbles with constant fire hot rage. Day after day–rage after rage—the spouse takes this abuse and feels herself getting weaker. She tells herself that she needs to be more understanding, that she is the one at fault, that there is something intrinsically the matter with her. NO! That is not the case if you are married to a narcissistic personality. Yes, you are imperfect. You are the frequent recipient of the narcissist’s insidious projections that wound deeply and leave scars.
Your narcissistic sibling is the king or queen of the family–the special one chosen. There are no rules for this child from the beginning. You are treated by your parent(s) with strictness. You are often criticized and demeaned but the chosen, budding narcissist can treat you like dirt and the parent will not defend you.
God help you if you cry–that is a serious sin in this kind of family. Often the mother or father in this constellation is a narcissist. You become the scapegoat, the one everyone targets for cruel comments especially when you show feelings.
Expressing feelings –all of them is part of being an authentic human being. I don’t trust anyone who is incapable of expressing feeling–genuine ones. I know that many are taught very early that showing feelings is a sign of weakness. The opposite is true. Being comfortable with our feelings is essential to evolving and growing as an individual. This doesn’t mean we make out of control public displays. We learn to have good manners and to be considerate of others.
Remember that the narcissist is a Hollow Man, a dry, empty, personless being who can neither give nor receive love, compassion or empathy. This personality disorder is fixed and does not change. Hollow men are made of stone. I always look and feel into the eyes of others. I know them by the expression in their eyes and the energy that I feel from them. When we look deeply into the eyes of a narcissist we experience what Eliot saw in The Hollow Men: “The eyes are not here, There are no eyes here in this valley of dying stars….”
Feel your authenticity, celebrate the real self within you that continues to evolve, learn, create and, always, Feel.