On having a story.

When the bond between heaven and Earth is broken, when even prayer is not enough… only a story can mend it.” Rabbi Baal Shem Tov

One of the horrible legacies of Narcissism in families is that parents find it so difficult to take pleasure in their children. Narcissism doesn’t value otherness and is therefore dead set against the child ever really being their own person.

Their job is to hold the mirror.

Not go galavanting about…

hither and yon…

o’er hill and dale..

So kids grow up feeling uncertain about the validity of their inner worlds. The froth and bubble..

an’ hiiiigh drama…

drags the child into a split reality where..

on the one han’…

they have the feeling that they have no depth to themselves either…

no story to be part of…

an’ on the other….

the yearning to be at home in the world…

And so there is an up side to being born into a damaged world/family. Like ‘sink or swim,’ you are compelled to find what you are made of..

whilst draggin’ yo feet like a bitch.

Be quiet. The reason for this is that the emotional deprivation anyone is bound to feel within seconds of Narcissism’s presence leaves a person with doubts about their personhood and some rather sketchy patches on the map. You might well want to stay at home.

beyond here there be dragons…

Buut then you might just get press-ganged by the Gods anyway and blown off your course right into one of those sketchy bits…

The child who has had an adequate upbringing is rarely a seeker or a discoverer. S/he doesn’t need to be. S/he is already satisfied. They will grow solid, dependable and trustworthy but none too interesting… whereas the unfed child will be driven to find some other meaningful context for ephemeral life.

To be part of a story that will contain and give meaning….

”so that our life experiences… will have resonances within our inmost being and reality, so that we feel the rapture of being alive.” (J.Campbell Power of Myth)

The child of Narcissism is born into a closed world. Its a fundamentalist world actually and the reason is because there is no reflection upon anything.

We already know…

We are sufficient to ourselves.

You are of no relevance.

In fact we scorn you.

But dry and empty.

One day, Insh Allah, the dry and empty gives rise to an itch that just has to be scratched. Despite ‘the world is just what I know of it’, the hungry child spits out the toxic nipple and leaves home one way or another in order to find a story that will really feed them.

Some say the fish contain the ocean, I say the ocean contains the fish. C.J.Jung.

It’s hard. Like the Ugly Duckling, the un-mothered child, already stuffed with onerous beliefs about themselves, is now additionally scapegoated and rejected for wanting to find their own way in the world..

but, it jus’ more of the same..

and so the search for what is truly soulful compells one foot in front of the other without knowing where to look or what to do. Intuitively we sniff out and make good on the promise we were born with that our needs will be met and go looking for the soil that will bring us to fruition.

For this we need a story.

Not something to ‘believe’ in..

Something that reflects our individual life as well as having its own..

something rooted in itself.

The story that grabs our attention, the movie that was so amazing, all has to do with deep containing structures in the psyche that are the templates of individual experience and as such, appropriate containers for them.

What’s required is not a chronological story of the past with yourself at the centre but a timeless story in which the temporal can find meaning and reassurance.

The story, or dream, that presents itself is like a ‘transitional object’, as a bear or doll might have been to the child we once were. It is both’ me’ and ‘not-me’. Sometimes you can feel so deeply identified with it that it seems as if it is ‘your’ story.

And that’s a wonderful thing.

Because in that moment the Universe holds a mirror up and says,

‘I see you.’

Published by

andywhite

Psychotherapist/writer/artist/ author of, ‘Going Mad to Stay Sane’, a psychology of self-destructiveness, about to come into its third edition.

Soon to be printed for the first time, ‘Abundant Delicious.. the Secret and the Mystery’, described by activist Satish Kumar as, ‘ A Tao of the Soul’. This book documents the archetypal country through which the process of individuation occurs and looks at the trials and tribulations we might expect on the way.

In the meantime…..
Narcissisim is the issue of our age.
This blog looks at how it operates, how it can damage and how we may still fruit despite it.

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