Yesterday I went to a bbq party, which was organized and attended by people I know from work. The work I do at the moment is a call centre job, where I call businesses in Germany in German and ask them about their preferences on shipping companies. First I called them to tell me about how they feel about their elevators. I go to these work hangouts even though I have nothing in common with these people ( except sharing a job) and I find nothing interesting about them. Yet I do go and share my time with them. Why is that?
I could just say no I’m not going, as I gain nothing from spending time with these people… but then…sometimes I think it helps me to put myself in contact with people who aren’t like me at all … that it helps me to work through social awkwardness, which will, in the end, help me too when I’ve moved away. Is the thought of seeing myself as different from them an error and a sign of narcissistic superiority? Does feeling “other” always imply that one feels “better? I don’t think so. Am I wrong?
My fear though is that I tend to go to these meet-ups because I like to be the odd one out, I like the interest and appreciation that I get from these people. I live a very different life from them and somehow it gives me a good feeling about myself when that gets validated and valued … I feel a bit like an animal in a zoo but I’m staring back at them as they are staring at me and by staring at me they validate my oddness.
Is that narcissistic behaviour? Am I being a narcissist when I bring a homemade potato salad to a party like that? Am I being a narcissist when I bake a cake for a friend and bring it to their birthday party ? Am I a narcissist when I jokingly mention that I made these things? Should I not ask for appreciation? Does that question make me a narcissist? Am I really a narcissist because I dye my hair green?
I always thought that people with narcissistic personality disorder work on wanting to manipulate others, that they need to make everything about themselves, that they don’t listen, that they talk about themselves all the time. I don’t think I am like that .. but is it possible to be a Narcissist and not know it at all? As far as I know, that is possible… but how can I find out then? How much talking about oneself is ok and when does it get too much … is it ok to talk about oneself or should one just shut up and listen.. but what if the other person is actually interested in hearing what one has to say about oneself….I mean, sure I do on some level demand attention by dying my hair green…
I just have this deeply ingrained feeling that if I don’t catch instant attention people will simply forget me from the second I’m not with them anymore and I don’t want to be forgotten .. is that narcissistic? Probably, I mean why should I be remembered.. who gives me the right to think I should be remembered … but then isn’t that just a human trait to not want to be forgotten? Isn’t everyone like that? But then .. just because everyone does it doesn’t make it ok.
Is wanting to change the world narcissistic? Surely. How to avoid narcissism then? Not talk about oneself? Not have an ambition that goes beyond normality? Look normal? Not bake cakes for birthdays? I don’t know. Some things are cultural though too, I mean, cake baking and salad making for parties aren’t really me wanting to draw attention to me… it’s just what I do as a German, who was raised in a village. It’s simply what we do… but then… do most people there do that to draw attention to themselves? Hmm… they actually probably do. I don’t try to impress though, or do I?… I enjoy baking and making. I like eating what I make and bake and I also like expressing appreciation for others by making and baking for them.
Hm it seems I’m slightly confused ha 😉