But by choice?
Not always. I lived with one growing up. The things this person chose were not with the deliberate intent to harm me. I simply wasn't a consideration. It was all about this other person, how they felt, what they received. I got badly hurt as a result. This person doesn't even SEE that there was harm done. Any harm... must have come from someone else. Because the narcissist cannot be wrong.
It is a mental illness. There can be help in therapy if the person actually recognizes the problem and really wants help (it's lots of work). If you don't know you are ill, how do you get help?
I think narcissists are victims (their own). I think of my mother and sister as having brains that compel them to think of the world, themselves and others in a highly circumscribed, cookie-cutter way. They are fixed. My mother was highly moral in some ways in others, not at all. It was not a choice. It was based upon values determined early on. If I had to choose a word that fit it would be determined. Where we may have flexibility and choice, our families are compelled to view the world as they do because that is how they see it based upon their limitations.
You and I can pick ourselves up to some extent and change locations or around and see it all differently. While my mother could more than my sister. Her range of motion was limited.
Yours is not. That is what always differentiated you from them. Your flexibility and exultation in seeing from different perspectives, the basis of compassion.
Along these lines I have felt distraught since Saturday based upon interactions with my son.
I fell to this place when he firs arrived to my town, after a couple of days around him in the house. Again between Wednesday and Saturday I had intermittent contact with him and prolonged contact over a 24 hour period.
The result was the same: I cannot bear how he treats me. How he is. *Already the neighbors in the new house are talking about his disrespectful treatment of me. I become ashamed.
I take on the crime.
M told me this morning. This is what I don't like about you *he beats around the bush does he not? You want to die when something happens when the story is not over.
So I said: I try and I try and nothing works. Nothing I do to help my son works.
And then I realized: This must have been what it was like for me as a child.
I cannot bear that I may have had this feeling state: "I wish I was dead." And I do not remember it. But there had to have been a prototype for this utter despair because nothing I do and am will change the dynamics in my family and home. There is no escape for me. Except the wish to escape by killing myself off. The death penalty.
So we see where my extreme motivation to achieve came from. I learned early that it was my job to do anything, any feat, to effect my family. My responsibility. The bad side is that with my family it did not work all the time but it did work sometimes. My self esteem must have depended upon that contingency: did I work?
The good side: once I left them, it did work. I left my family with the sense that I had the capacity and motivation to potentially have an effect.
I think people on this spectrum act purely out of concern for themselves. Those who are high on the scale may derive pleasure from hurting others, but those midline and below, have a drive and focus so much on themselves they probably don't even notice who they mow down, perceived as blocking their paths to get what they want.
That is the issue, they care so overmuch for their selves, that they have limited or no fellow feeling for others. It is interesting to read in some articles that some on the narcissistic spectrum are found to actually have low self esteem.......
I think people like this have an illness, a disability where empathy and compassion are blocked to feed ego.
What a sad state to be in.
People become pawns in the game to set oneself above all others. Yuck.