Saturday, March 26, 2011

Product over Process and Person

I remember the first time my narcissistic father gave me the silent treatment.

I was four. He was angry because I tore a drawing.

It was my drawing. A watercolor of a little boy with his hands on his hips, forming the Greek letter "Phi". That was on purpose and he thought it was really smart. So he put it on the fridge and praised it.

At first I was happy. Then he went on and on, for days, praising it and bragging about it to anyone who'd listen, until I became jealous of that little boy. I felt like he didn't notice me any more, now that he had docile, tangible evidence that his daughter was both artistic and intelligent. He no longer needed me.

So I tore it. I wanted him to see me again. By getting so angry, he only confirmed it. He preferred the boy.

Narcissists value the product both over the process of producing it and the person who produces it. The achievement, the prize, the award, the degree, the job title - those are the things that are valued in their children. Those are the only things that even get noticed. Who we are, what we are like, what sort of persons we are, what we like, what we dislike - they don't have a clue.

So some of us forget who we are too. We learn that it doesn't matter.

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