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  1. #11
    somnium tenebris Powehi's Avatar
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    I looked over the questions and am not entirely convinced it's defining actual narcissism, but the underlying question is an interesting one because there is a way that the boundary between Self and Other is blurred both by the narcissist and the empathic person. The difference is how the problem of the shared pain is solved. The narcissist will demand resources and the empath will give resources.

    For example, if someone has health issues, a narcissist might take on the features of the illness and make it all about their own self, even demanding resources and comfort from the person who is actually sick. The same dynamic can happen with emotional pain. The narcissist exists in such a way that everything that happens is about 'them', so the pain of others can also be about them because they can't allow attention for someone else, they cannot allow a greater set of needs in someone else that require resources.

    When the empathic person encounters someone who is sick or in emotional pain, they may experience some of it as well, but that motivates them to give resources to the person experiencing the actual pain. There is more conceptual clarity about who is experiencing the actual pain. There are cases where empathic people expend too much. They will become more giving in the face of shared pain. When encountering suffering, it revolves around the person who is actually suffering.

    A theory about the source of narcissism is that it begins with early arrested development during the infant and toddler stage while a sense of Self and Other is forming in that first relationship to their mother. An infant cannot recognize mother as a separate entity with a different set of needs, but as the child grows through toddlerhood, they learn to negotiate with the mother as another Being who has their own set of feelings and needs. When a young child is neglected, does not feel a deep love from their mother, experiences great inconsistency of care, or are treated with harm, they get stuck at that stage of not being able to recognize a sense of Other. There is an internal deprivation and lack for their development, so there is a deep sensitivity in the narcissist, but much of it is subjugated to the subconscious, so they would probably not have self-awareness to answer questions on a quiz, especially questions that sound self-critical. There isn't enough sense of Other to feel inferior in the way that a normally sensitive and insecure person would feel, because their sense of Other is not developed in the same manner. For example from the quiz, they aren't likely to wonder what other people are thinking, but would feel slighted easily by not being given an unbalanced degree of attention from individuals, strangers or friends alike. It is more of an uneasiness like a toddler would feel when crying in a crib because their needs which represent a state of extreme vulnerability are not met. There is also a tendency to overcompensate for that vulnerability with a lot of emotional force. This would not be present in an empathic person.

    Circus life under the big top world, we all need the clowns to make us smile
    Through space and time always another show, wondering where I am. I'm lost without you. Journey
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Frosty's Avatar
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