Friday, October 8, 2010

Narcissistic Extension

No, this is not like a hair extension, or deadline extension. I admit it. I AM a narcissistic extension. I am trying to break the habit, though. (Wonder how to break the habit? See below.)

Have a look:

The "abstract":

"Narcissism is a complex and often misunderstood character disorder. Less attention has been paid to the person who supplies what the narcissistic need. This person is known as a narcissistic extension, and can suffer tremendous trauma and abuse while feeling blameworthy. It is a difficult dilemma to solve, and is often perpetuated in adult relationships when children have had narcissistic parents, and less so, parents who act as narcissistic extensions. This article discusses the role of the narcissistic extension, and its development, and how people who are narcissistic extensions, like narcissists, "see" what is not there, but, unlike narcissists, blame themselves for this, and the resulting relationship and familial problems."

One important thought on being a Narcissistic Extension: it's not clear to me whether the Narcissist always makes the Extension, whether the Extension can make the Narcissist, or if both come pre-made into the nightmarish interactions they create. I suggest employing the following admonition, "Eschew judgment and belief" and then moving on with healing.

Four things that have helped me make it part way to breaking the habit:

A. The Four Agreements, by Miguel Ruiz. Here they are, but get the book and study it every day for a year.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

B. The Mastery of Love, by Miguel Ruiz. Read it, study it every day for a year. Some of it will make you feel very sad for a while, but accept that what he says is largely true. For example, this idea was hard for me to accept, but he is right: If a person will not treat you with kindness and respect, it is a gift if they walk away (my paraphrase).

C. The Art of Loving, by Erich Fromm. See my blog post about this book.

D. Getting over the painful mental state of being a Narcissistic Extension will take a LONG time, and lots of effort. I'm convinced that time alone will not do it. It takes learning, dedication, concentration, daily effort. I have elsewhere likened it to the 12-year effort I have gone through to rebuild my lower back from serious debilitation.

Contact me any time with questions or comments.

For my Part 2 to this topic, see this post.

And for a Part 3 of sorts, see this post.

Also, elsewhere I suggest exposing yourself to the teachings of Mooji (who actually just teaches what many others have taught throughout the millennia): Sri Mooji.

One more edit: here is a video from HIM, which displays the lyrics of Cyanide Sun, a song that I think paints a picture of the emotional mess resulting from Narcissistic Extension/Narcissist interactions.


ZHawke said...

Read all three of your posts on "narcissistic Extension" and just wanted to let you know how much they've helped me, personally. I've also started a blog (if you're interested - let me know and I'll give you the link if you are) that deals with this issue and so many others following my family's involvement in the tragedy at Columbine High School. TEACH PEACE!

Andy said...

Thanks, and I'm really glad to offer help or hope! I looked at your blog a little, and will look some more. Indeed, teaching peace is what it's all about, especially teaching to treat ourselves kindly in all ways, and live mindfully.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am in a relationship where i am the narcissictic extention. It started four years ago when I was in high school and has continuted until now. I am a twenty two year old woman and I have until recently been deluding myself on this issue. It is so hard to because i love this person dearly even though he cheats and lies and manipulates me. I need help and advice from someone who knows what i am going through. Please help.

Andy said...

Indeed, I can relate to the feelings you have. The crux of it is that we, as narcissistic extensions, end up understanding "love" to be an addiction to the roller coaster of our interactions with our spouse or "partner." If you break it off with your narcissist, you may lay awake in grief night after night for weeks or months wishing he would come through the door and be different this time, or that maybe you should call him right now and he will have changed and become warm and supportive. But like an addict, the best thing you can do for yourself is suffer the withdrawals knowing that recovery and something different lies ahead.

I've written in Narcissistic Extension, Part 2 that being a narcissistic extension becomes in YOU. It is a habit you have to break once you are no longer with the narcissist. You need to work on YOU, and resist the urge to look at another relationship as the answer. The books I've recommended will help. Also, feel free to contact me directly from my Blogger profile for more support or thoughts. I mean it.

Now, hang in there, and take care of yourself.

SarahBellum said...

I'm dealing with the grief of being a narcissistic extension for about a decade. I've finally accepted that all of my healing will have to happen without ANY acknowledgment from him that the damage ever even took place!

I've healed quite a bit and gained a lot of myself back - and then some!!! But, we have a child together, and I fear for the fallout of his narcissism in her life. Quite obviously, she will become a new extension. DO you have any advice for how I can help to prepare her not to play the part without directly saying negative things about her dad?

Andy said...

SarahBellum -- Sorry for the clunky comments submission process! Yours is the billion dollar question, and I know it comes from serious worry about your daughter. On one hand, early experiences are SO influential on us, they are hard to escape. On the other hand, seeing you grow and leave behind your N. Extension side could be powerful for her.

I cannot boast success in this part of child-rearing, so offering advice from experience is not possible. The only concrete suggestion I have is to be honest about what YOU have learned about yourself, and what changes were required to get beyond N.E. thinking and why it is important.

Also, being truthful does not require saying negative things about her dad. Carefully done, you can tell the truth but with compassion for her dad. After all, Narcissistic behavior comes from fear and pain.

Nothing easy about any of this, and I feel for you. I am happy to chat more via e-mail if desired -- my address is in the About Me profile page to the right.