The young woman walked up to the Fun House at the visiting community carnival. Stunned, she stopped. There she was, beautiful, shapely, just how she had always desired to look! She realized that she was looking in a mirror, but not just any mirror. This mirror was shaped so that her reflection showed her with the slimmer body that she had unsuccessfully worked for years to attain. There she was! Realizing that she had to obtain that mirror, she went first to the carnie running the event. He directed her to his manager who directed her to the owner, each one feeling the insistency of her demands. Willing to pay ANYTHING to buy the mirror, she finally assumed ownership. Taking the curved mirror home, the woman set it up at the end of her hall where she would look at herself within its reflection multiple times a day. Without any conscious dieting or difficult regimen, the woman quickly and easily dropped pounds until her true image came into alignment with the one reflected from the Fun House mirror.
So it is with each one of us.
Upon first breath, our physical body merges and is enlivened by a divine spark, an “I AM” consciousness seed that is pure motivation. This is Who We Are… the conscious seed of divine Light that moves us to BE! This *WILL* is pure desire, a compulsion to experience and come to know who we are through experiencing who we are. AND who we are NOT. Experience requires choices which depend upon contrasting values and opportunities. As we develop, we conform our personal identity to how we see our self and how we see our self is influenced by the information that is reflected back to us as we associate with others.
During childhood we are each a “Noah” of sorts as we build of our self, this initial spark, an ark (a Holy Grail, a chalice, a pure vessel) of energy, a body of “light” that is the collection of what we see of our self within our mind’s eye. We are, literally, building for ourselves our body of LIGHT, one capable of carrying us across the flood waters of emotion. It is this seed of consciousness, our “WILL,” that must be nurtured and must grow to full emotional maturity in order to successfully complete our mortal probation, becoming a literal vault (chalice) with which to contain our self-worth, our Light or intelligence. It is this vessel, depending upon its capacity, that holds the pure GOLD that is our self value, all determined by how we see our self.
Although our physical needs were met during our gestational experience within our biological mother’s own body, when birth signals the bestowal of our trophy (the mortal physical body), our reward is incomplete without the essence having yet equally developed into a full and empowered Being of Light. This *WILL* is the scriptural seed that is sown within a fertile field (the body), the “light that shineth in darkness (the physical matter) and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” (John 1:5) Together with the physical body, this light or spirit becomes, ultimately, an eternal soul.
Picture the spark of consciousness as a template, an architectural rendering, a “Father” or sorts, that oversees the conception and in-utero development of the fetus, entering into his completed body upon birth. THEN, in a reversal, as an implanted “Father” (seed of light), this essence works on an ever greater SUB-conscious level as it steers the growing physical body through developmental experiences and simultaneously grows.
Thus, at birth, the “Son,” the physical body, assists the growth of his “Father,” the emotional body (the *WILL*) until, ultimately, they are each complete, synchronized, and one integrous mature Being. The *SOUL.* This is the *I AM* of the physical body having come into alignment with the *I AM* of the original blueprint. The power source and the tool are plugged in and operating together, neither complete without the other. Thus, the fully developed and integrated physical and light bodies are each finished, complete, holy, perfected, together capable of identifying as an *I AM WHO I AM.*
Yet, throughout recorded history, this developmental journey has usually gone awry. Most of us, it is seemed, are dropped off into alien territory (Earth life) with the impossible task of discovering who we are by developing spiritually while relating to and connecting with others who, likewise, are alien. Our self discovery occurs as we build our emotional ark while simultaneously learning to glide it through the waters (society’s interacting emotions) as they threaten to crash in all around us.
The nine months following birth is the time for this emotional gestation. As the infant nurses in mother’s arms, held close to her heart and with gentle and prolonged eye contact, he is emotionally fed. Cuddle-time is the infant’s opportunity to have mommy reflect back to him who he is. In this way, the child learns to see who he is, taking upon himself the identity reflected from within his mother’s eyes. Thus begins his journey of Gnosis, self-discovery. But, if mommy is distracted, is not able to tune herself to her infant’s needs, the attunement is chaotic or haphazard, healthy bonding will not ensue, the child will not learn security, and the crucial bond of Trust will not form. The light body remains an “uncircumcised” seed whose outer shell remains safe, unbroken, impenetrable… and infantile. Without a strong ability to trust one’s care-givers and experience, his emotional foundational period will be built upon shifting sands. To find stability in his terrifying aloneness, he will seek for a crutch. An emotional crutch can be any material “thing” (such as a pacifier, blanket, stuffed animal), a learned action to either comfort or distract himself, or behavior that wields attention and a meeting of either physical or emotional bonding needs from an outside source, leaving the consciousness weak and undeveloped.
As a need arises in our infancy, we appeal to our caregivers through subtle cues. If inappropriately heeded, we learn that the world can not be trusted, that we are vulnerable, that we must give not-so-subtle cues and find ways to care for our selves. And so, our cries get ever more vocal as we seek to be heard, have our needs met and acquire the validation that is even more important than physical food. Truly, our self-value, our identity, is the compounding interest on our initial investment of our seed of light, our Gold. When we finally discover a way that DOES receive attention and the amelioration of our basic needs for survival and bonding, we place our emphasis on providing more of that behavior. Either side of neutral peace yields its own dividends. Loud vocalization or rebellious attention-seeking brings rage, while quiet withdrawing inside results in learned depression and sulkiness. Each direction from neutral confidence is a manifestation of the inner shame of being “poor in spirit” and lacking a self-value that matches that of the initial consciousness seed blueprint. As a child grows up, continuing along either of these two forged paths, brings one to characteristics of neurosis yielding narcissistic rage or depression.
IF that initial seed was sown within a warm emotional environment, THEN the crucial first foundational years of life will establish a healthy root system potentially leading to healthy emotional maturation and its fruit of empowered JOY. When in close eye-to-eye contact the child sees reflected back to him “You are important. I hear you,” the child learns to trust, relax, and feel safe with this new world. The eyes are the window to the soul. Better: Mother’s eyes are the mirror to the child’s growing soul. The child instinctively seeks for validation and worthiness in his mother’s eyes. HOW she sees him and reflects his identity back through her eyes is how he will learn to see and value himself. If she is in tune with him, then her facial expressions will match and mirror his. He will, literally, see himself within her eyes, reading his feelings through her body language.
As a child looks into his mother’s eyes with her large pupils looking deep within his soul during prolonged eye-contact, he feels safe and relaxes. With this sense of security and rightness in his world, HE feels right. Feeling “right” is like an exhale to the spirit, it is the soul’s exhaling sigh of “All is calm, all is bright.” Each exhalation is as a shovel, digging an ever-deeper vessel to contain more and more validation and rightness. Exhales call forth inhales, filling in the ever growing emotional seed of light with self validation, his identity. As the child’s sense of worth grows, he has ever more validation to return to mother. Thus, the nursery dance. Eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, mother’s outbreath becomes his inbreath becomes his outbreath becomes her inbreath…. Oxytocin floods both of their systems, creating floods of feel-good emotion as bonding takes place and they are both fed.
Within a mother’s arms, a mother who is in tune with her self, a child learns to trust, gains self-value, experiences a sense of security as he gradually develops enlarged awareness of an ever-expanding world, learns to communicate and maneuver within this world as he gains ever more experience and self-confidence… and his *I AM* grows. The child begins to use and understand emotion.
Depending upon the early reactions received, IF this bond of trust and inner confidence is not established upon a firm foundation, then the child, in attempts to survive, departs in one of two general ways: loud and outward vocally or through actions to gain attention and needs, or quiet and inwardly to depression. The first would lead toward narcissism, the second to neurosis.
Look closely. One who has been emotionally wounded and failed to dig out a large chalice/ grail/ vessel sufficient to contain a supply of self-validation generally has small pupils. They are afraid to let in the light from mommy’s eyes that are reflecting his perceived lack of worth. Lack of worth brings more shame. And it is this self-shame that is the wound of childhood, scarring the identity for life.
If one were to “hear” the deepest self-talk of one so scarred, one would hear: “I feel so ashamed. I’m not deserving of your attention. I can pretend I’m worthy of your validation by ___________, but we both know that that’s superficial, an act. The Real me is not worthy of your notice. I’m empty inside, so please don’t need anything real from me or that will expose my deficit and cause me to feel all the worse because I am letting you down, causing me even greater shame. I have nothing to give. I am a nothing.”
With no inner reserves, the physically developing child has a dearth of validation to give to another in need. Though mentally and physically he might be strong and “normal,” he is incapable of emotional empathy or feeling WITH, understanding, and being capable of meeting the needs of another. Because of his lack of healthy self-validation, he is incapable of sustaining proper boundaries for a relationship. In adulthood, when he is asked about or called on his impropriety, the relationship is doomed.
Luke 6:38 states: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
BUT… in order to GIVE, you must HAVE, and in order to HAVE, you must have RECEIVED, and in order to RECEIVE, there must be a “mother” figure who HAS RESERVES OF HER OWN and is willing and able to give. Additionally, the child must have an emotional container sufficiently flexible and capable of being filled. In religious terms (though so misunderstood), this is the circumcision of the heart. A narcissist has a hardened protective coating or shell around their inner Light that prevents expansion ere he be shamed and invalidated further.
Often narcissistic children have been made to feel “special”: the only boy in the extended family, a unique color of hair or physical or mental propensity, some inherent quality that arouses admiration or envy which the mother then feeds off of for her self-validation supply. She often becomes “Mommy’s Beauty Queen” or “Daddy’s Little Princess.” Thus, the child learns to identify as the physical body instead of the inner essence, the “Father.” As such, she takes up a counterfeit identity, bent (for survival’s sake) upon providing more of the perceived unit of value.
Another common variable for shaky foundationalization is a parent’s fixation on “perfection.” When a child receives attention (worthiness points) for being “the best speller in the school,” a musical prodigy, “another Smith football star,” learning to identify with a physical or mental accomplishment instead of his inherent personhood, his focus, emotions and childhood becomes fixated on continuing the façade. These children are often required to augment or fulfill their family’s social standing, becoming the validation “bread-winner of the family.”
Because the child’s sense of self has been diverted from the inside-out, he has a greater reliance on physical abilities and mental activity. In this way, work and entertainment replace the steady happiness of the strong inner knowing of self-validation. Because he has looked outside of himself to feel good and give him his dopamine rush, he has relegated to others his LIFE!
When my oldest child was three years old, I read an article in the newspaper about a newly published book by a local author entitled: “The Joyful Child.” The message of this article inspired me to compose a simple song and contrive a daily routine for my children that, I hoped, would empower them for their life. Each morning, or sometimes multiple times a day, I would place my young child (depending upon their age) either sitting on the bathroom counter or standing on a step stool and have him look deeply into his eyes reflected in the bathroom mirror. I taught him to look beyond his eyes, to go deeper. I told him that living deeply within their skin was a light, a beautiful, warm, comfortable light… like a small fire. As he looked deeper than the surface of the mirror, beyond the surface of his eyes, but deep, deep, he would sense that light. That was his real, true self. That was the part of him to look for and find and sing to. As he appreciated what he saw of himself on the outside and dug as deeply inside as he could, he sang to this self the simple song I had composed: “I like myself, I am a valuable person! I like myself, I am a valuable person! I like myself, I like myself, I like myself, I like myself. I am a valuable person!”
Much later, as I established a daycare within my home, during our daily “circle time” we would sing this song together, taking turns to look into a hand-held mirror. Often, intrigued with what I was doing with their children, parents would take off work to engage with us at various times of the day or watch my group of preschools interacting while in the background unobserved. If the parents were with us during our “circle time,” I would offer them the opportunity to look into the mirror while we sang. Sadly, no parent ever was able to self-confidently exhibit a prolonged gaze within the mirror. Though many mothers of my students were profoundly beautiful on the outside, their identification was upon the superficial, thus resulting in low inner validation. This they revealed through our mirror time.
What ARE Mirrors? Who Invented the Mirror?
The mirror is one of those inventions that have become so ingrained in our society, we scarcely wonder about its origins. But if you’ve ever taken the time to stop looking in the mirror and actually stood back and looked at the mirror, you might have asked yourself how mirrors developed. A mirror can be defined as “any naturally reflective surface” with obsidian or other polished stones fitting the bill. Archaeologists have discovered polished stones such as these in Turkey, dating to 6000 BC. There have been similar findings in South America and China.
Modernly, a German chemist named Justus von Liebig created the first modern mirror by applying a layer of metallic silver to the back of a pane of glass in 1835. This created what was a template for the first mass production of the modern mirror.
Mirrors come in all shapes and sizes; they’re used for a variety of reasons. The most common use for a mirror is for vanity. Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” As we look into mirrors, we are apprised of the current state of affairs of the physical body of which we identify. This is why we have mirrors hanging all over our houses, and especially in the bathroom where we prepare ourselves for the day. But there are many types of mirrors in use, and many of them function in ways that might not be apparently obvious.
Car mirrors make use of reflective surfaces to allow our eyes a greater range of vision than would otherwise be possible. Have you ever tried driving a car with broken rearview mirrors? It’s harder than you would think. Convex mirrors are curved, so as to give the onlooker a wider view than he would have with a standard, flat mirror. These are the types of mirrors you see in shopping malls and parking lots in order to give drivers, shoppers and security officers the best possible view of the land. Two-way mirrors are coated with an ultra-fine layer of metallic reflection so that a limited amount of light is reflected back at the viewer… on both sides. The side of the mirror that is reflective is dependent only on which side is in the brighter of two rooms. The darker room will always have the advantage of being able to see through the mirror. Funhouse mirrors distort our images to make us appear tall, fat or even otherworldly. They’re marked by hollows, curves and bumps. Each section of the mirror is slightly bowed out or rolled in.
A mirror reflects light back to our eyes, and if the mirror is flat, the reflection is an even one. But when the mirror is distorted, the light reflects back at strange angles.
Try this experiment: Look into a mirror. What do you see? Yourself, of course, right? Or, do you? The “up” part of you is “up” in the mirror’s reflection; “down” is down.” But, what about your hands? Lift your right hand. Now, taking the frame of reference of your mirror “you,” can you see that She raises her LEFT hand?!
For all of our history, when people think they see themselves, they are always seeing themselves reflected backwards. With the invention of cameras and video, we can get a sense of what we look like forwards, but its a static or non eye-to-eye view. The backward images and person we see in a mirror is profoundly different from what is real. The backwardness, or reversal of images, distorts not just our features, but the information in our faces and personalities as well. We truly, even in the most accurate of situations, see ourselves differently than others see us.
Simple idea: take two mirrors and place them at right angles. Look into the angle. The person in the mirror looks and feels more right, matching our sense of what others are seeing. Hold writing up to confirm it is not backwards.
Yet, there is a profound system of reflection designed in to each one of us! Here’s how it was discovered.
“Cells That Read Minds” by Sandra Blakeslee (1-10-06)
On a hot summer day 15 years ago in Parma, Italy, a monkey sat in a special laboratory chair waiting for researchers to return from lunch. Thin wires had been implanted in the region of its brain involved in planning and carrying out movements. Every time the monkey grasped and moved an object, some cells in that brain region would fire, and a monitor would register a sound: brrrrrip, brrrrrip, brrrrrip.
A graduate student entered the lab with an ice cream cone in his hand. The monkey stared at him. Then, something amazing happened: when the student raised the cone to his lips, the monitor sounded — brrrrrip, brrrrrip, brrrrrip — even though the monkey had not moved but had simply observed the student grasping the cone and moving it to his mouth.
The researchers, led by Giacomo Rizzolatti, a neuroscientist at the University of Parma, had earlier noticed the same strange phenomenon with peanuts. The same brain cells fired when the monkey watched humans or other monkeys bring peanuts to their mouths as when the monkey itself brought a peanut to its mouth.
Later, the scientists found cells that fired when the monkey broke open a peanut or heard someone break a peanut. The same thing happened with bananas, raisins and all kinds of other objects.
Thus, in 1996, “mirror neurons” were discovered. Firing when the animal carries out an action on its own OR sees or hears another execute the same action, mirror neurons are the missing link to science, religion, spirituality, philosophy, secret mysteries schools, and more importantly, our own implanted angst for self-knowing.
Even imbedded within the mother-child “cuddle time” are clues that have gone unnoticed. For instance, many cultures have variations of the fairytale “Snow White.” This is the story of the “evil queen” who looks in her mirror, obviously lacking a solid foundation of her own inherent worth, and asks: “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” Receiving an answer that there is someone else who is fairer than she is provokes a sense of unrest, inequality. SHE is programmed to be the quintessential beauty within HER kingdom! Hearing contradictory feedback throws her into what has been labeled the “narcissistic rage.”
Yet, back to the recent discovery of these mirrors we each have within our own skull that we continually look into for our validation.
While the most evolved primates and several other animal species have these mirror neurons, humans, it turns out, have mirror neurons that are far smarter, more flexible and more highly evolved than any other. This reflects the intricacies of our social abilities. The human brain has multiple mirror neuron systems that specialize in carrying out and understanding not just the actions of others but their intentions, the social meaning of their behavior and their emotions. Mirror neurons allow us to understand the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation. By feeling, not by thinking. This feeling of another’s intentions and emotions is called empathy. It is the crowning glory of humanity.
Whereas most nerve cells in the brain specialize in detecting single features of the outside world, for instance, firing when they encounter a horizontal line, detecting a single frequency of sound, or a direction of movement, mirror neurons are “light years” more advanced! Found in several areas of the brain… including the premotor cortex, the posterior parietal lobe, the superior temporal sulcus and the insula… they fire in response to chains of actions linked to intentions.
”When you see me perform an action — such as picking up a baseball — you automatically simulate the action in your own brain,” said Dr. Marco Iacoboni, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies mirror neurons. ”Circuits in your brain, which we do not yet entirely understand, inhibit you from moving while you simulate,” he said. ”But you understand my action because you have in your brain a template for that action based on your own movements.
”When you see me pull my arm back, as if to throw the ball, you also have in your brain a copy of what I am doing and it helps you understand my goal. Because of mirror neurons, you can read my intentions. You know what I am going to do next.”
He continued: ”And if you see me choke up, in emotional distress from striking out at home plate, mirror neurons in your brain simulate my distress. You automatically have empathy for me. You know how I feel because you literally feel what I am feeling.”
Mirror neurons provide a powerful biological foundation for the evolution of culture, absorbing culture directly, with each generation teaching the next by social sharing, imitation and observation. Although other animals (monkeys, probably apes and possibly elephants, dolphins and dogs) have rudimentary mirror neurons, humans, with their huge working memory, carry out far more sophisticated imitations.
Language is based on mirror neurons, and neural dis-orders such as autism result from broken mirror neurons, allowing one on the autism spectrum to be able to identify or replicate an emotional expression, like sadness, on another person’s face, while not providing understanding of the emotional significance of the imitated emotion. From observing other people, one on the autism spectrum can learn to attend to these emotional expressions, yet they do not know what it feels like for the “other” to be sad, angry, disgusted or surprised. Though they may learn to interpret with their rational mind what another’s facial expression represents, they do not have the feeling or emotional empathy to feel WITH the “other.” This rational perception is far different from true empathy and is known as “cognitive empathy.”
More than other primates, human children are hard-wired for imitation, with infants a few minutes old being able to mimic an adult sticking out their tongue. When children watch violent television programs, mirror neurons as well as several brain regions involved in aggression are activated. Though mirror neurons work best in real life, when people are face to face, virtual reality and videos are shadowy substitutes.
When you see someone touched in a painful way, your own pain areas are activated. When you see a spider crawl up someone’s leg, you feel a creepy sensation because your mirror neurons are firing. People who rank high on a scale measuring empathy have particularly polished and active mirror neuron systems.
Social emotions like guilt, shame, pride, embarrassment, disgust and lust are based on a uniquely human mirror neuron system found in a part of the brain called the insula. When people watch a hand go forward to caress someone and then see another hand push it away rudely, the insula registers the social pain of rejection… JUST AS IF ONE WAS HIMSELF REJECTED. Humiliation is mapped in the brain by the same mechanisms that encode real physical pain.
Mirror neurons assist one to learn through mere observation. Whether that observation is graphically played out within one’s own imagination or by watching another, the mere act of envisioning directly improves muscle performance. In this way, millions of fans who watch their favorite sports on television are hooked by mirror neuron activation. In someone who has never played a sport, say tennis, the mirror neurons involved in running, swaying and swinging the arms will be activated.
Additionally, mirror neurons are powerfully activated by pornography. When a man watches another man have sexual intercourse with a woman, when a camera pans a woman’s body, when an “off-color joke” is made, the observer’s mirror neurons spring into action. The vicarious thrill of watching sex, is not so vicarious after all! Although a man may try to convince himself or others that he has kept his mind pure and remained respectful of the integrity of his relationship with his wife and he believes that he treats women as the precious goddesses that they are, unless he understands what is really happening within his body and is zealously overseeing each frame chosen to view within his inner world AND OUTER WORLD… this is not the case in today’s culture!
Two thousand years ago, an advanced messenger understood mirror neurons. Though his words were cut, pasted, taken out of context and twisted, this one implored mankind to be very careful who we choose to be our lens to see for us. Matthew 5: 28 “… whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart; therefore, your leaders” (entertainment industry, billboards, foul-mouthed friends, etc.) “have caused you to err because of their examples. Ye look at them as your guides who have eyes that see for you, and hands that do for you that which ye believe God hath commanded of them.” (Keeping a “friend” or entertainment such as these prevents one from becoming pure and emotionally mature.)
:29 “For ye have seen of the Jews that those who are their leaders, who lead them and are their standard, do mislead them and cause them to sin before the Father” (one’s inner Light) “and disobey His commandments. And it is better that a man have no leader, than be led into the same hell with his leader whom he hath made his standard. And if thine eye which seeth for thee, even him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, becometh a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out. For it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. For it is better that thyself should be saved, than to be cast into hell with thy leaders where their worm dieth not, and where the fire is not quenched.”
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IS AN INCREDIBLE DOCUMENT! Please print yourself off a copy of it in its corrected entirety in the link on the right side of the home page. Read it. Ponder it. Apply it in its pure intent. This is wisdom 2,000 years ahead of its time!
So, now I continue with a subject that is raw and very close to my heart:
…and each human being who has not received empowering parenting.
For those who interact with them (everyone) and those who ARE “them” (nearly everyone), and yet are finally accepting of their mental dis-order and willing to take upon them responsibility to Grow UP emotionally, I dedicate the following:
Just as a two year old and an eight year old and a fifteen year old are each at various stages of their physical development, so are there infinite levels to one’s emotional development.
The ultimate degree of emotional mastery was indicated in Matthew 5: 11 and 12. “And blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, because of that which ye do for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad in your persecutions and afflictions; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you, who I sent unto the people to teach them these things; for your reward shall be given you from heaven by receiving peace and comfort from the Spirit of God.”
This is the most profound piece of literature ever penned! The rest of the three chapters gives specific examples which, if integrously applied, will change one’s life and, literally, make one a “prophet,” just as it did all those before you. The quintessential culmination of human experience is to grow the physical body and the emotional body in tandem and become ONE united Soul. “The Father and I are One. Ye have seen me, ye have seen the Father.” “Be YE, therefore, perfect, even as I or my Father in heaven are perfect.” “Perfect” signifies complete, whole, finished, connected.
Because of the current depraved state of society (who knows not HOW depraved it is!), it is impossible to be foundationalized correctly and to grow up unscathed. Therefore, it is incumbent upon each individual to RE-PARENT and heal their self BY FOCUSING UPON ONE’S FEELINGS OF “Rejoicing” and “Being Exceeding Glad”… even when being PERSECUTED and AFFLICTED… for Doing GOOD!
Narcissists are those with weak, defective mirror neurons. They have “impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; are excessively attuned to the reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate own effects on others.” Without a mirror or a reflective surface, one cannot see one’s reflection. So as for the narcissists. Without fully functional mirror neurons, it is difficult at best to them to reflect upon their behavior. If they were mean… it was Your fault, not theirs. You provoked him, you deserved it. Living with simmering anger, in his mind, it only explodes because “you started the fight!” not realizing that there was no “fight” in you, it was his lack of understanding your actual intentions, all because of his lack of those dang mirror neurons.
Narcissists do not have much of an inner world. Their world is skin deep, superficial. What people usually see, is a veneer, an outer shell, like a hollow chocolate bunny. They have become a “Pinocchio,” a puppet, playing a role of their “false self” according to the learned behaviors they chose in infancy that helped them to survive in a world that did not reflect back to them the true inner worth of their essence. They are able to go through the motions, feigning emotions and interest in others and their problems or experiences, with not much actual substance. A narcissist’s displays of humility, conscience, and emotion are often shallow and insincere. They may have a rather vivid imagination and a tendency for grandiose fantasy, creating a contrived image of themselves that they tenaciously seek to represent to others. Although they may even somewhat convince their rational mind that they have everything they think they want and need, within that small hidden Subconscious seed essence, they are aware that not only is this not realistically attainable, it’s just straight up ridiculous.
Underneath their shell is an all-consuming black hole and the debris caught within its orbit. They are prone to disappointment, and always there’s an unshakable feeling that they’re not getting everything they deserve. At the furthest reaches of this black hole’s gravitational pull, just underneath the surface veneer, is a seething layer of rage. Always in some degree of anger, it’s the only emotion they consistently feel with any intensity. If they allow one to become intimately close enough to poke holes in the veneer or show its lack of substance, the narcissistic rage will shine hotly through the crack. Even when they’re feeling “fine,” this anger is simply repressed, not absent. And beneath the anger lies the initial SHAME, the sense of not being good enough to have mommy look deeply within and reflect back from her eyes their inner golden light.
The above two paragraphs were gently edited from the narrative of a brave individual who has been diagnosed with narcissistic tendencies who goes by the anonymous name of “John.”
Narcissism and empathy have long been considered interrelated. From the early clinical conceptualizations of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to the introduction of NPD in the DSM–III (APA, 1980), impaired empathic processing has been considered a hallmark of pathological narcissism and NPD.
Without mature EMPATHY (the ability to feel with another, understanding what he or she is experiencing), a person lacks ENMITY… conscience. It is this conscience (“Jiminy Crickett”) that, if listened to and obeyed, would assist the fictional narcissist “Pinocchio” on his journey to becoming a “Real Boy.” Empathy and its flip-side enmity (conscience) allows one to properly interact with others as the social creatures we are. Without enmity and empathy, following the “Golden Rule” and doing good in the world is haphazard and often creating of more pain for one’s self and others, no matter how sincere one’s efforts may seem.
With no inner reserves, the physically developing child has a dearth of validation to give to another in need. Though mentally and physically he might be strong and “normal,” he is incapable of emotional empathy or feeling WITH, understanding, and being capable of meeting the needs of another. Because of this lack of healthy self-validation, he is incapable of sustaining proper boundaries to honor an intimate relationship with another. In adulthood, when he is asked about or called on his impropriety, the relationship is doomed. His source, who has become his “surrogate mommy figure,” is perceived as withdrawing her emotional sustenance and he is crazily knocked back into his terrifyingly dark abyss of infancy when there was no one there for him. Shame, self-loathing and recrimination is what he than has available inside to send forth instead of the empathy and responsible reaching out to re-establish the relationship bonds.
Yet, contrary to the ignorant though well-meaning doom-sayers, NARCISSISM *CAN* BE HEALED. It requires the right tools and sufficient skillful heart surgery. Most of all, in order to heal, one must call forth the greatest degree of *WILL* one can muster. And keep it steady.
The narcissist must be paired with one with sufficient emotional reserves, one who truly and deeply cares and is capable of assisting in his healing for the long-term. She will then properly take over the “Mommy” position, being consistent and not afraid of establishing and maintaining necessary boundaries and consequences. The secret to healing Emotional Deprivation (whether it exhibits as “narcissism,” “borderline personality disorder,” “sociopathy,” or ANY dis-order of self-validation) is in the EYES. The EYES have it!
By choosing the temporarily uncomfortable state of forming new habits, new ways of using our “down-time,” and establishing new thinking patterns (neural networks), the “patient” will discover the greater “good feeling activities” where he is emotionally involved. Active involvement with others brings serotonin and oxytocin, which are far-better “feel goods” and with no spikes like dopamine. He must learn to obey her immediately and implicitly. In this way, through perfect obedience to another and then receiving her validation reflected back into him, his vessel of light grows. As she guides him, pointing out areas where he is blind, “calling him on his shit,” and requiring him to responsibly acknowledge it and “clean it up,” he will grow ever and ever emotionally stronger. As he does, his initial self-centered lens will turn inside out and his ability to feel for another (empathy) as well as his contrition for hurting another (enmity) will mature. As he develops he will feel more and more LIGHT, hear more and more his own inner voice of conscience, see others no longer as “objects” for his use and abuse, but as the equally divine and wondrous beings that they are. He will, choice by choice, become “a Real Boy!”
The “mommy” figure must be willing to let go of her objective reality and join him in his delusional “tea party.” “Yummm, you say this is tea and crumpets? How delicious! Thanks for inviting me for this fun treat!” She must hold him close (physically if the relationship allows), at least emotionally with her warm, soft gaze, while she validates his world view. He will play upon her sympathies, establishing his victimhood, the unfairness of how he’s been treated and taken advantage of. A wise mentor will acknowledge that she hears and understands, even believes his perspective without allowing him to emotionally disintegrate into a black hole, taking her with him. “I believe you. Tell me more.”
As she accurately mirrors him, he will begin to feel less alone. This brings him relief leading to his ability to mentally relax and accept her love and validation of him. His eyes begin to soften as well as his heart warms further and he senses greater hope for a worthwhile future. Hope brings a sense of gratitude allowing for an expanding willingness to open further his mind and accept her viewpoint.
Always, she will direct him UP the “stairway to heaven.” Although she will hear his inner angst (understanding his feelings better than he himself does because of her mature empathy), she will not permit “pity parties.” She will continually point him to higher vibrational feelings with the goal being the summit, where he is able to maintain steady “Rejoicing with Exceeding Gladness” even when persecuted and afflicted for assisting others.
Essential to one’s emotional growth is the releasing of relationships and situations that call him back down. Depending upon his tenacity and degree of determined *WILL,* it will be necessary to focus upon his healing as he leaves the former world of his addictions, relationships, and entertainments behind. A change of diet, a change of handwriting, perhaps a change of attire, hairstyle, name, etc. will be helpful and maybe even essential to complete one’s healing.
This above scenario is as a wise man who enters within a pitch black house, gradually opening the blinds and windows, allowing in ever more sunlight and fresh air. As he learns to obey, so he learns to trust. Greater trust entails more conscious awareness of all that he previously missed, the deeper nuances and joy hidden right in plain sight.
After he had made significant emotional growth, one day I walked through the master closet and saw my first husband standing still with a puzzled look upon his face. “David, are you okay?” I asked. As if his eyes had just been opened, he slowly stated, “My clothes…. They’re so colorless. I’ve never really noticed before….” Realizing that his eyes WERE OPENING, I fell into his arms and we wept together. He was really changing and viewing the world more clearly. That very day we went to Walmart and bought him simple shirts in every color of the rainbow!
Again, the mother’s exhale becomes the infant’s inhale, his exhale becomes her inhale; her eyes become his. A growing cycle of validation being reflected back and forth, each received message of worth carving an ever-greater capacity to receive. The larger the vessel, the more validation it is able to hold and the more can be given to another in an intimate relationship.
Lao Tse said it best: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength. Loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
When a narcissist feels accurately mirrored, they feel temporarily complete and are able to reciprocate. Feeling like they have reserves in their emotional tank, they then feel a desire to cooperate and take steps towards getting well. Knowing how much you care (because he can see it in your eyes), he will care how your knowing can assist him.
In my pursuit of Real Truth, I have given up everything. Crawling through the “eye of the needle,” I have learned the *mysteries* and am now giving my life to assist YOU to dis-cover Who *YOU* really are, along with your unique gift to offer humanity. As you learn to seek (in the right place and with purified intent), you WILL find treasures of lasting value, along with every promised reward. Together, we will establish a society of humane beings and live life ALIVE, on PURPOSE, and with a sociality unequaled… because we will each BE and view each other as equally and profoundly DIVINE! Please… catch this Hope and Vision and join with me.