Narcissism - the New Miasm?
In the age of Social Media, it appears that 'Narcissism' is a word that has increasingly entered the popular lexicon. However, what exactly is this aspect of personality called 'Narcissism' and is it actually the sufferer who is directly affected or - perhaps more likely - those in their immediate close orbit such as family members, friends, and work colleagues? This growing phenomenon is borne out in homeopathic practice where it can be observed that it is those in their vicinity who 'carry the load' for the 'Narcissist' and it is for this reason that I wish to shine the spotlight on this very topical subject. What drove me to write this blog was reading of the 'Narcissist' described as the 'silent assassin' (in the book 'Narcissus in Treatment: The Journey from Fate to Psychological Freedom by Richard I. Feinberg (Karnac, 2013) - this really struck a chord with me.
It is well documented that the word 'Narcissism' emanates from the story of the ancient Greek God - Narcissus - who, on catching sight of his own reflection in a lake, fell in love with it and proceeded to gloat on his self-importance at the cost of being able to demonstrate any empathy to others around him.
In fact, what is a key feature of 'Narcissism' is the lack of insight the patient will manifest on how their behaviour affects, not only them, but - and more importantly - the damage it causes to those around them. This can have a crushing effect, not only on self-esteem of the victim, but also self-identity - the question is 'who am I within the framework of the narcissist's perception'? ' This message is so constant and entrenched in the impressionable years of children that the victim can later no longer individuate according to their own outlook and values. Even years after such a relative or friend has died, if the message has persisted long enough, it is extremely difficult to eradicate this message due to its constant reinforcement and replaying in different resonant scenarios. Often, there is an unconscious 'enabling' within the family that allows this mindset to pervade across the different members. This means the target of the narcissistic abuse becomes the scapegoat. No wonder people say such things as 'I always knew I was the black sheep of the family but I had to keep it under wraps'. This creates the ultimate emotional suppression which can so often lead to 'dis-ease' within that individual.
Even a parent projecting their own thwarted ambitions onto their child regardless of the child's interests or vocation can be seen as narcissistic and therefore undermining. This is because it is not about the individual but about the parent and the unconscious expression of their vicarious ambition through their child.
When examining the obvious homeopathic remedies for the narcissistic personality such as Lilium Tigrinum, Palladium, Platina, and Veratrum Album, it can be seen that there is a foundational layer of betrayal and escape into delusion in the background. This often dates back to the very primal years of development, the exploration of which indicates to the prescriber the trajectory which reaches expression in this way. It is this which needs to be addressed if any inroads can be made to alter the deep-seated viewpoint of the individual. After all, every symptom acts as a 'compensation' and makes sense within this context. I would suggest there are many other less evident remedies where the narcissistic personality is clearly masked in their portrayal. Given the very endemic nature of narcissism, my aim is to enable the reader to explore the subject through rubrics from the repertory and more obscure materia medica.
Victims of narcissism often - and unconsciously - expose themselves repeatedly to similar abuse in their relationships and, until this is observed and addressed through treatment, they reinforce the primal message which is allowed to perpetuate as a way of assuaging the primal hurt which has been instilled in them. This can affect every aspect of their life as seen in remedies such as Lac Caninum, Lycopodium, and Staphysagria - rubric 'scorn, looked down upon by everyone, feels he is' as a prime example.
Other significant rubrics from Robin Murphy's Homeopathic Clinical Repertory, Third Edition, 2005, appertaining to 'Narcissism' include:-
'abandons, forsakes, children, their own',
'abandons, forsakes, relatives',
'abrupt, behaviour, harsh',
'cold, frigid, mentally',
'delusion, belong, to her own family, does not',
'delusion, children, thinks he must drive, out of the house,'
'delusion, divine, thinks he is',
'delusion, great person, is',
'delusion, prince, is a'.
'delusion, princess, is a'.
'delusion, pure, that she is',
'delusion, queen, thinks she is',
'delusion, rank, thinks himself a person of',
'delusion, servants, thinks he must get rid of',
'delusion, statue, poses as, to be admired',
'delusion, superiority, complex',
'delusion wealth, imaginations of',
'desires, grandeur, for',
'egotism, excessive, self-esteem',
'flattered, desires to be',
'haughty, wishes, to be flattered',
'hurt, other people's feelings, inclination to',
'importance, feels his',
'indiffierence, children, to her',
'indifference, cold and indifferent',
'indifference, done for her, about anything being',
'indifference, family, to his',
'indifference, loved, ones, to',
'indifference, others, toward',
'indifference, relations, to',
'indifference, society, when in, aggravation',
'indifference, welfare, of others, to',
'pompous, feels overly important',
'power, love of',
'social position, concerned about',
'scorned, looked, down upon by everyone, feels he is',
'snubs, one who differed from him, desire to',
'unfeeling, hardhearted, family, with his or her',
So, by gaining insights into the recognition of 'Narcissism', the homeopath can not only protect the sufferer, but - and more importantly - also those in their orbit who may otherwise suffer a lifetime of damage. The 'silent assassin' can be disarmed and the family members given their own voice.