Caroline Myss makes an interesting observation about a narcissistic trend in our culture, the increasingly common occurence of people introducing themselves and interacting with others on the basis of their wounds.
It seems all so PC and, oh, he’s so in touch with his feelings and vulnerability…
but actually you are being picked clean like a Wilderbeest on the grassland vlei.
”People use their wounds as a kind of shadow power.” C Myss.
There’s a sense that life in general and you in particular owe the sufferer something on account of it, some special kind of dispensation for which there’s a very good reason why the normal rules should not apply.
On one level its pure narcissistic manipulation,
”in order for the wounded person to elicit sympathy or compassion, to gain a measure of power and/or authority, and/or to claim allowance for their disagreeable actions.”D Ward
people are doing vulnerability rather than being vulnerable…
But there’s more ladies and gentlemen… more than just about getting inside your defenses or getting you to feel sorry for him without him actually having to connect with his tragic story.
The semi -conscious manipulation is chump change compared to the service his sad story performs in keeping his potential at bay.
Never better or worse, never truly mourned or courageously faced, the eternally suppurating wound has the power to stop the dizzy world from turning.
For as long as the story takes to tell…
but there is a cost..
…one that might soon truly justify the feeling of an eternal wound.
”The most important wound the ego has to face is that of the unlived life.” Hollis.
And not just the regret of what could have been, or the guilt of what you refuse to do now. Its those myriad and very real sins of ommision, from a moment’s lack of charity to the wholesale turning away from Life’s entire work. All the things you will never do, be or become.
Without the divine feminine to personify the Principle of Relatedness, the human psyche gets bent and not just out of shape. Its like one of those physics lab molecules made of pingpong balls and springs. Take out a chunk of it and the rest of it turns into something different. Chemically different.
Most obvious is the difficulty we have in relating to each other. Then there is the erosion of feeling that might mend sympathy. Less obvious is the problem I now has in talking to me.
The open wound is like that of the grail king who refuses the Quest. It is a metaphor for the unlived life, for the marginalised potential that would turn his life upside down if it were allowed into play.
Without much prompting the narcissistic king will tell you his troubles ‘ad nauseam’, and mostly it will be about why he is doomed to fail and who is to blame, forgetting that his maudlin ‘poor me’ protects him from the open ground in which his potential lies buried.
Creativity disrupts, chaos at our door. Potential demands, responsibility cast at our feet. Life’s canvas creates us back and for the person entirely engaged in self maintainence and shoring himself up, the creative adventure must be passed up.
The creative moment is characterised..
”by the motif of severe persecution.” Walter Otto.
Creativity is the antithesis of self preservation.
”To begat something which is alive you must dive down into the primval depths in which the forces of life dwell. And when you arise to the surface there will be a gleam of madness in your eyes, for in those depths death lives cheek by jowl with life.” ibid
It really is tempting to stay indoors. For the one who prizes an even keel and calm seas, the creative adventure is a threat to ontological security since..
”there, along with rapture and birth, rise up also horror and ruin.” ibid
The narcissist is so annoying in his ‘poor me’ that we forget his soliloquy has the quality of a rearguard action in the face of multiple invading dragons. He’s defending himself from being torn apart by his own inner world.
His great ball of yester year’s suffering is a damn sight easier to shoulder than today’s possibility.
And no, you don’t have to feel sorry for him.