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Projection: The Snow Queen Story 1: The Demon's Mirror
Andersen, Hans Christian. The Snow Queen and Other Stories from Hans Andersen. Edmund Dulac, illustrator. London: Hodder & Stoughton 1911. From SurLaLune: http://surlalunefairytales.com/
by Lynn S.
Everything is upside-down in Narcissism Land.
The days are dark, the nights are bright, and fires aren't doused, they're fanned.
An N will say "I love you" oozing animosity.
Fear becomes bravado mixed with grandiosity.
And if you dare to argue that his view is rearranged,
An N will only answer back that you're the one deranged.
When he starts feeling anxious, he'll say you seem quite insane.
"Deficiences abound," he cries, "in your disordered brain."
He lies then claims the truth is his, but you, now, you're a mole.
"How can you question me?" he asks. "You must not have a soul."
When he's confused, then you're the one who needs to be much clearer.
So when the N projects like that, just hand the guy a mirror.
The Snow Queen: Story 1
Story can be found at SurLaLune
Now we are about to begin, and you must attend; and when we get to the end of the story, you will know more than you do now about a very wicked hobgoblin. He was one of the worst kind; in fact he was a real demon.
One day he was in a high state of delight because he had invented a mirror with this peculiarity, that every good and pretty thing reflected in it shrank away to almost nothing. On the other hand, every bad and good-for-nothing thing stood out and looked its worst.
The most beautiful landscapes reflected in it looked like boiled spinach, and the best people became hideous, or else they were upside down and had no bodies. Their faces were distorted beyond recognition, and if they had even one freckle it appeared to spread all over the nose and mouth. The demon thought this immensely amusing. If a good thought passed through any one's mind, it turned to a grin in the mirror, and this caused real delight to the demon.
All the scholars in the demon's school, for he kept a school, reported that a miracle had taken place: now for the first time it had become possible to see what the world and mankind were really like. Each tiniest grain of glass kept the same power as that possessed by the whole mirror. Some people even got a bit of the glass into their hearts, and that was terrible, for the heart became like a lump of ice. Some of the fragments were so big that they were used for window panes, but it was not advisable to look at one's friends through these panes. Other bits were made into spectacles, and it was a bad business when people put on these spectacles meaning to be just. The bad demon laughed till he split his sides; it tickled him to see the mischief he had done. But some of these fragments were still left floating about the world, and you shall hear what happened to them.
Projection: Continued in Post 2: "Am I A Narcissist?"
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Oct/26/2008, 7:45 pm
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Re: Projection: The Snow Queen Story 1: The Demon's Mirror
Projection and Distorted Thinking
"Am I A Narcissist?"
by Lynn S.
I was at my wit's end and could not understand what had happened when the Narcissist began his campaign of revenge and destruction. I agonized over where and how this relationship had gone so completely off-track. The devastation was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. I felt betrayed and completely confused; yet, the N walked off, seemingly unscathed with what appeared to be a clear conscience. His sense of entitlement was beyond what I could comprehend, so I went searching for answers on the internet. That search led me to the discovery of NPD. I read the characteristics and a lightbulb went on.
I was relieved at first. There was an answer that made perfect sense to me. It all fit. Underneath the relief, though, I still had a sense of shame and uncertainty about the source of the failure. He wasn't left in a heap and unable to cope with the aftermath. I was. Other family members were. I was being blamed for all of it, too. I wondered, was it after all, me?
I read the characteristics again. I internalized them and started thinking, "Maybe these apply to me." I began to self-diagnose.
Sense of Grandiosity and Self-importance: I had always thought I was fairly competent, but I was reminded often that I had a whole lot of flaws that disproved that notion. Perhaps I was grandiose beyond what was appropriate.
Fantasies of Success and Ideal Love: I had some goals in life, things I wanted to achieve, and I had always believed I was a loving person. It wasn't enough after all. I didn't think I lived in a fantasy world, but it occurred to me that it was possible that I did.
Believe They Are Unique and Special: I felt like I was unique, just because I was me. I had that reinforced and mirrored to me, in fact. I had gifts that were mine; yet, these were the very things I was made to believe were phony and a fraud in the end.
Requires Excessive Admiration: I wanted to be appreciated for what I had done and what I had given, at least in the sense of having it reciprocated, not because I wanted to be rewarded, but because it seemed like that's how relationships should work. Maybe I wanted too much for myself for self-serving reasons.
Is Interpersonally Exploitative, Takes Advantage of Others: I was certainly told that I was selfish and that I had disregarded the rights of someone I cared about and that my feelings weren't as important as I thought they were.
Lack of Empathy: I didn't put somebody else first enough. I didn't put his feelings before my own enough. It was never, ever enough.
Envious of Others: Other people seemed to be able to reach their loved one through kindness and compassion. I couldn't. Did I envy that and think it was something in me that made what other people had impossible to attain?
Arrogant, Haughty Behaviors: Who was I to demand anything, to think that my feelings were the ones that mattered. If he felt the way he did, I must have been doing something to contribute to that. It wasn't just about me, was it?
Fear of Abandonment: Oh, yes. I knew that one. We all know that one, but I didn't realize that at the time. I thought it was the sign of a disorder.
Fear of Inadequacy: In spades. I had been reminded quite clearly exactly how inadequate I was.
Blaming/Shaming: Wasn't that what I was doing in seeing a disorder in him?
Emotionally Abusive: I had lost my temper. I had yelled. I had said hurtful things.
The list went on from there. I could and did see every characteristic in terms of how it applied to me. You will also note that most of it was based on what someone else thought about me or accusations which had been made. I suppose it all could have been seen that way. It all could have been true; but it wasn't. There was a difference.
We all use defenses when we are wounded. We all have the potential to behave narcissistically when we are under attack. We all fear abandonment. We are all human. I had been defensive before in certain situations, but I had not experienced this kind of emotional devastation and self-doubt as a result of any relationship that I could recall. This was different. Even knowing all of that, I still wondered if the blame did not rest on my shoulders.
Why was I attempting to take on the responsibility for what he did? Through the forums I learned that what I was doing was taking on N's feelings, that what he had done was to take his own fears, and through Projection, dumped his shame, fear, and blame onto me which is the defense a Narcissist will always use to avoid those feelings.
Projection is the attribution of one's undesired impulses onto another. Much like the troll with the mirror who took delight in turning everything upside down and distorting it, a Narcissist projects his own fears and inadequacies onto his target.
I see now that he exposed my fears, he encouraged my feelings of inadequacy, he set the bars and hoops ever higher, all so that I would feel the very things he refused to feel. A person with empathy does not do that; nor does a person with empathy look your fear, feelings of invalidation and hurt in the face and say, "It's your problem and your fault." That was how I finally knew, it wasn't me. I had tried very hard to take the blame. In the end, I realized that while I am far from perfect, I am not to blame for someone else's perpetual and eternal dissatisfaction with themselves. That's not my bag to carry.
If you are here, you are learning about Narcissism, and at the same time, you may be trying to see your role in the demise of this relationship. You will have much work to do in regard to yourself, but you're seeing the world right now through the 'troll's mirror'. In the beginning of this journey, it is critical not to judge ourselves too harshly, not to diagnose ourselves, and to recognize that many of the things we feel have been projected onto us by the N. As the journey unfolds, we realize where the Narcissist's feelings stop and ours begin. Be gentle with yourself in this process.
If you are here, you are introspecting. You are trying to find a way to heal your life. You are questioning yourself. These are all things a Narcissist will rarely do because he will always find another place onto which he can dump his fear and shame so that he will never have to introspect nor will he have to change.
I heard long ago on the forums that if you are asking yourself the question, "Am I Narcissist?", the chances are, you are not. The process has taught me that this is a truth we all come to know as journey unfolds. The answers are not to be found in the Narcissist's distorted mirror. They're within.
Links on Projection and Defense Mechanisms
BPD411: Projection http://www.bpd411.org/projection.html
Ego Defenses http://www.crescentlife.com/psychstuff/ego_defense_mechanisms.htm
From NPD Traits by JoAnna Ashmun http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/traits.html
"They will contradict FACTS. They will lie to you about things that you did together. They will misquote you to yourself. If you disagree with them, they'll say you're lying, making stuff up, or are crazy. [At this point, if you're like me, you sort of panic and want to talk to anyone who will listen about what is going on: this is a healthy reaction; it's a reality check ("who's the crazy one here?"); that you're confused by the narcissist's contrariness, that you turn to another person to help you keep your bearings, that you know something is seriously wrong and worry that it might be you are all signs that you are not a narcissist].
NOTE: Normal people can behave irrationally under emotional stress -- be confused, deny things they know, get sort of paranoid, want to be babied when they're in pain. But normal people recover pretty much within an hour or two or a day or two, and, with normal people, your expressions of love and concern for their welfare will be taken to heart. They will be stabilized by your emotional and moral support. Not so with narcissists -- the surest way I know of to get a crushing blow to your heart is to tell a narcissist you love her or him. They will respond with a nasty power move, such as telling you to do things entirely their way or else be banished from them for ever."
"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Oct/26/2008, 7:52 pm
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