I was called a narcissist a few days ago by a reader.
I recently crossed over the five thousand mark in comments on they blog. I would say 99% are positive/funny responses to posts I’ve written. Once in awhile I invoke someone’s ire.
This particular reader yelled at me in a private email writing that I am a crazed narcissist and with all the hurt I cause my girlfriend I need to remember that I’m the lucky one to have her in my life. One of my comedy heroes, Marc Maron, has a response to a women whenever one starts passing judgement from the audience and interrupting his set. He’s a fantastic comic and talks openly about all his challenges. I try to do the same thing here. Anyway, his response is to look at the woman with compassion and then say, “I’m really sorry for what he did to you.” It’s one of the greatest power-move dismissals ever.
It’s true, of course. Whenever we are bothered by someone else’s behavior there is something within us and about us that is bothered. Usually it’s a reflection to something you’re going through yourself. Since most of my readers are women who are married with children, every so often I get a, “You should be ashamed of the way you treat your girlfriend!” Well, first of all, the blog wouldn’t be that interesting if I simply wrote, “Today I sent Jessica flowers! (which I do, by the way) She really appreciated it!” It’s hard to make something like that engaging. Talking more about the wounds I have myself or have inflicted upon others is more interesting to me. So, I’m sure I can come off like a dick now and then.
But when I receive a negative comment I go through a few stages. My first response is anger and I want to fire back a short reply reducing the person to tears. I am really good at this, by the way. Just ask my exes. However, hurting people in this way really isn’t a fulfilling strategy since I then feel shame an hour later. So, I let the anger pass and then I realize, “Hey, in a really crazy way this person cares about me. She wouldn’t bother to write this if she didn’t give a shit.” That allows me to feel good about them even though I didn’t love their message. Lastly, I get sad because I know she was probably triggered by something I said that hit close to home. We’re all wired up for projection and denial and mostly we just react to the outside world on what is happening internally we can’t face. So, the sadness comes when I think that maybe her home life is similar to what she hates in my writing.
What I do love, though, is honesty. I try to create a safe place for myself here where I can share openly. I have boundaries, of course. For example I have never shared about the time I went into Brooks Brothers and put on five suits at the same time and walked out tipping my cap to the salesman saying, “Nothing for me today, good sir!” Hey, cashmere single-breasted sports coats are like $800. Ballers don’t pay.
I will encourage you to continue to respond honestly. If you hate something I say or do, first go f yourself. Then, please write it and submit. I’ll work through my anger and sadness. Since I have such low self-esteem I eventually get to a place where I go, “Hey, haters still read!” Plus, if you met me in person, you’d love me. I’m that amazing. For real. Just ask around.
And with that I believe I have finally put this narcissistic silliness to rest.