A Taste of the Narcissism Apple, Anyone?

“If you were to be naked and let your personality dress you, you would not wear the most beautiful dress.”

“If your character were to show on your outside, you would not be the prettiest person among others. “

Narcissism is a big thing in New York. Self-focus and selfishness, they’re all here, crowded together in one area, trying to fight love for others. The more self-centered you are, the better. Survival-wise, you could have the best premises if you display this characteristic. As already implied in the NYC Charade (re-read here), the more feathers you ruffle and the bigger the show you play, the better for you. Don’t forget, you and only YOU are the main characters in this act.

It’s okay to find your life great. But please do not let it have an effect on others if it is not in a good way. I talked to people who got very mad as soon as the subject changed from THEIR house, THEIR children, THEIR dress, THEIR WHATEVER to something that wasn’t related to this. Even worse when I tried to talk about MY things because this gave them a reason to compare and to drag my stuff through mud – and this in such a begrudging manner. As if they couldn’t just get over the fact that other people have great things which make them feel happy, too.

Some people are so sad. I’ve worked with colleagues who had nothing else to contribute to human society than to marry a doctor. Their own life being miserable enough, they tried to make other people’s life miserable, too, by talking to them derogatively or not giving them a chance to progress career-wise. If they didn’t have power over this part, they made sure they could at least make this person look bad in front of a supervisor or other boss. I guess they saw others’ happiness as an insult to their dullness, and others’ success as a threat to their nicely laid-out plan of being successful themselves. There is a lot of competition in this city, no doubt. But it isn’t carried out in a fair way or in a way that makes me want to take part in this competition. Playing dirty for what? I don’t feel like I am on that kindergarten-level anymore but rather that competing for something can be carried out in a mature way without emotionally harming anyone along the way. Maybe it is just American mentality but I have more the feeling that it is especially a part of New York than anything else.

And why do I have the feeling that the “How are you-”mentality is carried out on further topics than this? We all know that ‘how are you’ does not really refer to how you feel or how crappy your day has been or if you’ve been doing well lately (it actually does mean all of this in German culture, a fine difference!) but is seen as a simple, polite, set phrase. Which is fine. But when people ask me how my vacation was or how I spent my weekend, I do want to tell them what I did, how much fun I’ve had, and what my experiences were. I know I cannot talk to this with anyone. Aside from the selection problem, the majority of some people here don’t care to know about the good things in my life. They take it as a careless hint to tell me all about THEIR experience in that city, how much fun THEY had, and what THEY did. Mhmmm, not quite balanced here, is it? It wouldn’t bother me as much if I weren’t to see their malicious gleam in their eyes that cries out BRAGGING loudly.
I’m getting tired of it. It seems harder and harder to stay away from these fake-os. I bought a new dress at Macy’s? They have a nicer one and mine is too cheap. I bought a ticket to Europe? Good for me, I will be missing out on half of my monthly pay because of this. New shoes? They were fashionable last season…

Is it cool to only see the negative all the time and to make others feel bad about themselves? It’s quite nerve-wracking and simply exhausting to deal with these nutcases. I was well-equipped in Europe, I had my cushion of real friends I could fall onto when this bothered me. But here it is a bit dis-arming, I have to admit. It sometimes turns your values upside down, but not in a good way.

Of course I am aware that, psychologically seen, these people are mostly grown up children who have not received enough attention in their lives. Whatever they were not able to receive from their parents they are now trying to get from strangers or so-called friends. Respect, acceptance, love, and other basics. These people are not able to build up real friendships, by the way. It’s all a matter of trust and they don’t trust in anyone – not even themselves. Their quest on filling in the sometimes huge hole of whatever they are missing will be never-ending until they accomplish self-insight. But try to criticize someone who is unstable and narcissistic. You will have him/her against you in no time because you have offended this person bitterly. They are not too much into self-improvement, these people.

Beware of narcissism. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of self-love and finding yourself a valuable person. But if you came here as someone who cared for others and if you had other thoughts on your mind than your own problems over and over again, try not to fall for New York’s biggest danger. It might be hard to crawl away from it.

2 thoughts on “A Taste of the Narcissism Apple, Anyone?

  1. Great post! I HATE people with that attitude that they know more, have more, are better, smarter, more everything… I used to really let it get to me (there are 3 people I am thinking of while writing this) but over the years I have come to find if I just realize how miserable they are, for acting those ways, I just ignore them and feel sorry for them. They are looking for validation and I refuse to give it to them, by feeding into whatever trip they are selling.
    I’ve gotten quite good with come backs too. If they are being particularly annoying I will say something, sweetly, honestly and with a slight act of dumbness in my tone that usually causes them to drop their jaws and immediately shut up. I reserve such comments for only the most demanding times and I always feel on top of the world when their measly eyes fill up with tears and they are at a total loss for words.
    I suppose these snotty people will learn eventually that they aren’t as great as everyone already knows they aren’t 🙂

    • I’m still at the stage where I am letting it get too me too many times, which makes me feel annoyed and kind of angry with myself for letting myself down onto their level. But I guess I still have time to learn how to deal with these things effectively. You see, we really do not have many people like these in Germany and if we do, we just make fun of them. In New York there seem to be so many and it is truly bothering me because I think they have spoiled one or two great experiences I had with this city.
      Nice approach from your side. I read the worst that can happen to narcissists is ignoring them or not giving them the attention they think they “deserve” so it seems like you have some parts of human psychology figured out just fine!

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