Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.
With most of the Shane Dawson “Jake Paul” series published and being viewed, there is constant talk about mental health and many of these labels are being thrown around without actual context to back these claims up. I know in my reaction post regarding Shane’s second episode of the series, I was misinformed by a lot of the information given about Anti-Social Personality Disorder and the differences between that and being a “sociopath” (which that’s a word that’s being thrown around a lot these days as well). I want to formally apologize for my lack of knowledge behind the context, and fell into the suspense and interesting aspect of that episode without regarding the feelings of those who may have been watching and who deal with this particular mental disorder. On my end regarding my post, I should’ve done more research on the subject (as should Shane I believe), and we have to stop referring to cluster-B mental disorders (or personality disorders in general) by the images and things we see portrayed in media.
With that being said, I would like to talk about something that I believe many people write off as just being a “characteristic” in people: narcissism.
Narcissism, in lack of a better definition, is a person who considers themselves to be bigger and better than everyone else around them. It’s more than confidence and it’s more than just being cocky; it’s that person believing that their worth and their value to the world matters more than those around them and believing that everything is always about them and if they don’t get that attention, they get upset and angry that it isn’t about them. While being a narcissist could stand alone as just a characteristic one may have, there are cases where narcissism is taken to a whole new level: it turns into an actual mental health diagnosis. It turns into a personality disorder that not only affects the person who has it, but it affects the people that person is associated with.
For quite some time, I’ve dealt with a relative who isn’t technically diagnosed with NPD, but their actions and behavior definitely leans towards that spectrum. This person makes those around them feel like shit, this person is extremely mean-spirited for most of the day, and this person constantly needs someone to pay attention to them. From an outsider’s perspective looking in: it feels as this person doesn’t give a shit about anyone else or their feelings besides their own; they write off everyone else and expect people to validate their feelings which life doesn’t really work that way, buddy. Because of this, those who associate around this person is constantly left feeling like they aren’t good enough or that the horrible things said to them or the actions of their behavior towards you is entirely your fault. Earlier this week, I had an encounter where I decided to share something meaningful with this person that excited me, and all the person said was “good for you.” That person proceeded to then complain about their own lives by stemming off the good and exciting thing I decided to share. Because of these type of reactions, I save my breath and don’t bother sharing things about my life to this person. Because this person refuses to give a shit about anyone else that cares about them, I refuse to let their opinions and judgments taint my accomplishments and happiness.
And whether or not this person in my life is just the characteristic or the full-blown personality disorder, it still affects me and those who associate themselves around that person. It’s especially harder when that person is considered family; you feel pity and guilt for feeling the way you do about them, but because they’re “blood”, it seems as if you’re entitled to care and give a shit about them.
Dear people who have exhibitionist, closet, or toxic narcissists in their lives, it’s okay to emotionally detach yourself from that person.
Being around someone who constantly puts you down or the people you love around them is tiring, and it can put some serious damage to your self-esteem and own personal mental health. If someone is not willing to seek help for themselves and for those they are potentially affecting as well, then honestly – there’s nothing more than you can do. Narcissism is a complex personality trait; it’s something that isn’t easily obtainable and curable because those who have that personality trait don’t see it within themselves in order to start that change and stage of seeking help. Even clinically diagnosing it is extremely difficult and rare because these people are typically not seeking help and/or they manipulate the situations they are dealing with in order to have others feel pity or empathy for them. These type of people possibly grew up with someone who was a narcissist themselves and constantly desires that affection and attention that they now seek in their adulthood. While knowing this about typical narcissists makes empathetic people feel bad for them and in some cases forgives their behavior, it is still no excuse to subject yourself to the type of verbal/emotional, mental, and potentially physical abuse that can come along with this type of person.
YOUR SELF-WORTH MATTERS. Empathetic people are able to hear you out, support you, and celebrate accomplishments that you feel the need to share with the people who you love most. That group of friends or family you rely on to have your back when you feel alone is something so important to have in this day and age and supporting someone who doesn’t give a shit about anything besides their feelings and think that their worth is much more expensive than yours is completely and utter trash and damaging. I know singlehandedly how difficult it is to remind yourself of this especially if this is a person who you truly care about and love a lot, but sometimes – you have to love people from afar for the sake of your own safety, mental health, and self-worth.
You are not there to save someone who doesn’t want help. People have to want help for themselves. And honestly, that’s the hard fucking truth. That goes for anyone dealing with a mental disorder to some sort! I know how exhausting it could be for a person within my circle to deal with me if I wasn’t seeking help for my anxiety disorder. Half of keeping healthy relationships and healthy connections with people is keeping your soul and mind healthy as well. Nobody is willing to stick around for a person who doesn’t see/want to see that they should seek help.
Take care of you before you take care of anyone else, fam.