Many of us know narcissists (Narc) who go way beyond category B and think they are the center of the universe and everybody worships the ground they walk on. Some of us had Narc parents who were abusive. Some of us were or are in relationships with an abusive Narc. The Narc tends to push the person they’re in a relationship with into Category A, where that person ends up stuck in the magnet trap of always feeling unworthy and undeserving of anything good.
Sometimes abuses suffered at the hands of a Narc forces people into their own self-absorption as a coping mechanism for life. That person ends up needing to always be the center of attention in order to compensate for feelings of unworthiness caused by the Narc that is or was in their life. It becomes like a circle of life thing where a self-absorbed person creates a self-absorbed person.
But most often it seems, people end up turning to alcohol or drugs as an escape route that numbs the pain, silences the voice telling them they’re not good enough, and makes them feel good about themselves. Then that addiction to the escape from reality through alcohol and drugs disintegrates the life of that person, making them feel even more worthless. More alcohol/drugs are then needed to numb those additional horrible feelings and the endless downward spiral goes on until it ends in a bad place.
When we start down the road of recovery from alcoholism/drug addiction, we need to have a ton of self-focus to correct the things that went wrong. Therapists will often say it’s necessary to almost be a narcissist for awhile to allow healing and to fix what is wrong. But once we’re thoroughly down the road of recovery though, we can easily find ourselves suddenly locked into Category B. We’re feeling good about ourselves for the first time in our lives. It’s an intoxicating feeling in and of itself. It also becomes a need. We need to have steady validation by others to keep our self-esteem going. It also keeps us stuck in the prison of what other people think of us.
Awhile back I had an argument with a good friend who’s in solid recovery. It was a silly argument where I colossally over-reacted. During our argument, my friend said “it’s not all about you man!”. I was pissed off at first, but then I got to thinking about it. He was absolutely RIGHT! He made me realize where my path had veered off course. Depending on the day and whatever was going on, I found that I was back and forth between these categories or even both at the same time.
Since that time, I’ve returned to the center of those two categories and focusing on using a good sense of self-worth to try and help others who may be struggling in recovery, in whatever small way I can. It’s important for our recovery, our good mental health and our continued growth, to get outside of ourselves and channel our energies into the needs of other people. That also is an intoxicating good feeling and that’s one intoxication where it’s actually a great thing to stay addicted to it.