Narcissism is a funny thing but it seems very common in young teenagers 13-16 years of age. If you don't know what Narcissism is the best way I could say it is "you love yourself" or sometimes it also could mean "you are in love with yourself". For a teenager learning to break away from his or her parents, sometimes it is a necessary to feel like this to biologically break away from their parents influence enough to individuate so they just don't wind up living in their parents basement until they are 40 or 50 or more years of age. So, trying to completely crush narcissism in teenagers might be counterproductive in the long run if you want your kids to go to college, have a career, get married have kids and not live with you anymore. But if you want your kids to never leave, never grow up, always be dependent, never go away and never have an original thought about anything then "Why are you having kids in the first place?"
Anyway, tonight we had a funny conversation with my 15 year old. I said, "I notice that you recognize finally that you are beautiful because you no longer tell me that you are ugly like you used to every time I tell you that you are beautiful. A smile crept across her face at this point and I knew I had succeeded in finally convincing my daughter she was beautiful. Then my older daughter said, "I think my sister is a narcissist like Dad. So, I laughed at this and said to my younger daughter, "You just have to find someone who loves you as much as you do yourself!" My older daughter sort of laughed and was horrified. My younger daughter just thought I was kidding. So maybe that's a good thing!
It all takes me back to being 9 years old when I ran into a car the same day I won an award in school for getting the highest marks on a bicycle safety test there. That same afternoon I was watching some kids playing in the park as I rode my bicycle by and neglected to see a 1949 black dodge 4 door sedan. So I promptly turned around just in time to open my mouth and break off my two front teeth on the back of the trunk of the Dodge. So, when I went to the dentist he said the right front tooth was broken 1/100 of an inch from the nerve. If it had hit the nerve he would have had to pull my brand new adult tooth. The other front tooth broke like a crescent moon shape that came to a point. So, basically I was snagglepuss from age 9 to age 15 when my teeth were capped and then suddenly girls of all kinds were interested in me because at 15 I was suddenly not only 6 foot 1 but also handsome. This had a very strange effect on me because I had always considered myself and ugly duckling because of my two broken front teeth. But by 15 I was strong and buff and with my capped teeth looked very handsome but I had always been kind of shy but I soon learned to use my shyness to my advantage. I listened to girls like a big brother and they confided in me about all kinds of unexpected things and wanted my protection from the world which I was almost always big enough to provide. But in the process I started to believe that I was wonderful because they were always telling me this. So, was I lovable? I guess since they believed it it soon became true as I learned how to be what the girls around me wanted me to be. So, was I a narcissist? Not before I was 15 and started to get a whole lot of attention from girls after my front teeth got capped.
In some ways all this attention sort of defined who I was becoming then and when at age 16 I began dating a 21 year old girl my life changed a lot. My next girlfriend when I was 17 was a Freshman at a local university and so all these things catapulted my life forward in all sorts of unexpected ways both good and bad. So, was it good or bad that I suddenly sort of became a narcissist right out of the blue? It's hard to say now. But without all that likely I wouldn't have gotten married at age 26 and had a son. And ever after that my life was always defined the most by being the father of one, then 2 , then 3, then plus two step kids and then 2 goddaughters. So, this is kind of the way my life went. So, was becoming an instant narcissist at age 15 good or bad? I don't know now. But I really like being a Dad. I like this role a lot more than any single designation in my life.
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