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Reconditioning The Narcissist

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Title:
Reconditioning the Narcissist

Word Count:
1206

Summary:
The Narcissistic Personality Disorder has been recognised as a distinct mental health diagnosis a little more than two decades ago. There are few who can honestly claim expertise or even in-depth understanding of this complex condition.


Keywords:



Article Body:
Question:

You seem to be very sceptical that someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be treated successfully.

Answer:

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder has been recognised as a distinct mental health diagnosis a little more than two decades ago. There are few who can honestly claim expertise or even in-depth understanding of this complex condition.

No one knows whether therapy works. What is known is that therapists find narcissists repulsive, overbearing and unnerving. It is also known that narcissists try to co-opt, idolize, or humiliate the therapist.

But what if the narcissist really wants to improve? Even if complete healing is out of the question - behaviour modification is not.

To a narcissist, I would recommend a functional approach, along the following lines:

Know and accept thyself. This is who you are. You have good traits and bad traits and you are a narcissist. These are facts. Narcissism is an adaptive mechanism. It is dysfunctional now, but, once, it saved you from a lot more dysfunction or even non-function. Make a list: what does it mean to be a narcissist in your specific case? What are your typical behaviour patterns? Which types of conduct do you find to be counterproductive, irritating, self-defeating or self-destructive? Which are productive, constructive and should be enhanced despite their pathological origin?
Decide to suppress the first type of behaviours and to promote the second. Construct lists of self-punishments, negative feedback and negative reinforcements. Impose them upon yourself when you have behaved negatively. Make a list of prizes, little indulgences, positive feedbacks and positive reinforcements. Use them to reward yourself when you adopted a behaviour of the second kind.
Keep doing this with the express intent of conditioning yourself. Be objective, predictable and just in the administration of both punishments and awards, positive and negative reinforcements and feedback. Learn to trust your "inner court". Constrain the sadistic, immature and ideal parts of your personality by applying a uniform codex, a set of immutable and invariably applied rules.
Once sufficiently conditioned, monitor yourself incessantly. Narcissism is sneaky and it possesses all your resources because it is you. Your disorder is intelligent because you are. Beware and never lose control. With time this onerous regime will become a second habit and supplant the narcissistic (pathological) superstructure.
You might have noticed that all the above can be amply summed by suggesting to you to become your own parent. This is what parents do and the process is called "education" or "socialisation". Re-parent yourself. Be your own parent. If therapy is helpful or needed, go ahead.

The heart of the beast is the inability of the narcissist to distinguish true from false, appearances from reality, posing from being, Narcissistic Supply from genuine relationships, and compulsive drives from true interests and avocations. Narcissism is about deceit. It blurs the distinction between authentic actions, true motives, real desires, and original emotions – and their malignant forms.

Narcissists are no longer capable of knowing themselves. Terrified by their internal apparitions, paralysed by their lack of authenticity, suppressed by the weight of their repressed emotions – they occupy a hall of mirrors. Edvard Munch-like, their elongated figures stare at them, on the verge of the scream, yet somehow, soundless.

The narcissist's childlike, curious, vibrant, and optimistic True Self is dead. His False Self is, well, false. How can anyone on a permanent diet of echoes and reflections ever acquaint himself with reality? How can the narcissist ever love – he, whose essence is to devour meaningful others?

The answer is: discipline, decisiveness, clear targets, conditioning, justice. The narcissist is the product of unjust, capricious and cruel treatment. He is the finished product off a production line of self-recrimination, guilt and fear. He needs to take the antidote to counter the narcissistic poison. Unfortunately, there is no drug which can ameliorate pathological narcissism.

Confronting one's parents about one's childhood is a good idea if the narcissist feels that he can take it and cope with new and painful truths. But the narcissist must be careful. He is playing with fire. Still, if he feels confident that he can withstand anything revealed to him in such a confrontation, it is a good and wise move in the right direction.

My advice to the narcissist would then be: dedicate a lot of time to rehearsing this critical encounter and define well what is it exactly that you want to achieve. Do not turn this reunion into a monodrama, group therapy, or trial. Get some answers and get at the truth. Don't try to prove anything, to vindicate, to take revenge, to win the argument, or to exculpate. Talk to them, heart to heart, as you would with yourself. Do not try to sound professional, mature, intelligent, knowledgeable and distanced. There is no "problem to solve" – just a condition to adjust yourself to.

More generally, try to take life and yourself much less seriously. Being immersed in one's self and in one's mental health condition is never the recipe to full functionality, let alone happiness. The world is an absurd place. It is indeed a theatre to be enjoyed. It is full of colours and smells and sounds to be treasured and cherished. It is varied and it accommodates and tolerates everyone and everything, even narcissists.

You, the narcissist, should try to see the positive aspects of your disorder. In Chinese, the ideogram for "crisis" includes a part that stands for "opportunity". Why don't you transform the curse that is your life into a blessing? Why don't you tell the world your story, teach people in your condition and their victims how to avoid the pitfalls, how to cope with the damage? Why don't you do all this in a more institutionalised manner?
For instance, you can start a discussion group or put up a Web site on the internet. You can establish a "narcissists anonymous" in some community shelter. You can open a correspondence network, a help centre for men in your condition, for women abused by narcissists … the possibilities are endless. And it will instil in you a regained sense of self-worth, give you a purpose, endow you with self-confidence and reassurance. It is only by helping others that we help ourselves. This is, of course, a suggestion – not a prescription. But it demonstrates the ways in which you can derive power from adversity.

It is easy for the narcissist to think about Pathological Narcissism as the source of all that is evil and wrong in his life. Narcissism is a catchphrase, a conceptual scapegoat, an evil seed. It conveniently encapsulates the predicament of the narcissist. It introduces logic and causal relations into his baffled, tumultuous world. But this is a trap.

The human psyche is too complex and the brain too plastic to be captured by a single, all-encompassing label, however all-pervasive the disorder is. The road to self-help and self-betterment passes through numerous junctions and stations. Except for pathological narcissism, there are many other elements in the complex dynamics that is the soul of the narcissist. The narcissist should take responsibility for his life and not relegate it to some hitherto rather obscure psychodynamic concept. This is the first and most important step towards healing.


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BONUS : Title:
Requirements for Successful Goal Setting and Achievement

Word Count:
933

Summary:
Goal Setting is an extremely powerful technique for accomplishment, but for Goal Setting to really be effective requires more than just writing a list of dreams and filing it away. This article will present important steps that will help to define and achieve goals with more success.


Keywords:
goal setting, success


Article Body:
Goal setting helps us determine our priorities, get organized, make big decisions, and realize our dreams. The act of merely setting a goal brings about positive change for many people. When you set a goal you are creating an exciting challenge for yourself. Almost all motivational experts incorporate goal setting as an important part of their programs. The effectiveness of Goal Setting can be seen in the incredible accomplishments of people such as: Henry Ford who wanted to make cars affordable for everyone, Bill Gates whose goal was to have a computer in every household, and John F. Kennedy who set out to put a man on the moon within a decade. There is a famous story about Jim Carrey who, while struggling as an actor in 1987, drove his car up on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood hills to think about the future. While sitting there overlooking the city of Los Angeles he wrote a check made out to himself for "acting services rendered" in the amount of $10 million. He dated the check for Thanksgiving of 1995. Jim's Goal turned out to be conservative because by the time 1995 rolled around he was making $20 million a movie.

The objective of MyGoalManager.com is to direct the user through the entire Goal process from definition to achievement. This Goal Achievement process entails the following requirements:

Well formed Goal Statements
Breaking goals down into manageable Steps
Motivation and Commitment
Reminders and Keeping on track
Frequent Review and Re-assessment

1. Well formed Goal Statements

The Goal Statement forms the basis for the entire process so careful attention should be placed on formulating a clear and accurate goal statement. A good way to remember how a goal statement should be defined is the old S.M.A.R.T. acronym used by many experts in goal setting. SMART stands for:

Specific
Measurable
Action-Oriented
Realistic
Tangible

The Goal should be specific enough so that we know exactly what we are striving for, measurable so we know exactly what is to be accomplished and when it has been reached, action-oriented declaring positive activity that will produce results, realistic in that it is practical and can be achieved given the limited availability of resources, and tangible meaning concrete and not vague. The goal statement “Increase sales 25% by the end of the fiscal year without increasing advertising spending” is an example that follows these rules.

2. Breaking down Goals into manageable Steps

Once we have a well-formed Goal Statement we need some direction to follow to achieve this Goal. While the goal “Increase sales 25% by the end of the fiscal year without increasing advertising spending” is a great goal statement, this is a monumental task without being broken down into smaller detailed steps. The creation of Goal Steps gives us an "Action Plan" that when completed will lead to Goal Achievement. Steps also allow for tracking of progress towards the goal. Goal Steps should be positive and not used to list obstacles that must be overcome which focuses on the negative. Negativity can kill motivation but there is power in positive thinking.

3. Motivation and Commitment

Motivation and commitment are what make us strive to achievement. They give us the push, desire, and resolve to complete all of the other steps in the Goal process. This motivation can be obtained by developing a personal statement that creates a high level of emotion and energy that guarantees achievement. One self help expert said that as a child he was kicked out of his local country club pool because he was not a member, in response he later made a goal that he would one day have a pool that is one foot bigger than that country club's pool. The motivation of being asked to leave the pool provided the necessary fuel for him to achieve this goal. Commitment creates more accountability and is what sets us on direct course to reach our goals. It may create costly negative consequences upon failure to attain a goal. Making a commitment might be something like having invested your savings in your new business which you will lose if it fails. Motivation and commitment are specific to your situation and life and only you can form statements that will ensure you reach your goal the quickest. The more personal you make your motivation and commitment statements for each goal, the more motivated you will be to accomplish your goal.

4. Reminders and Keeping on Track

Reaching our goals requires persistence and regular attention. We need some sort of system to keep us reminded and accountable. MyGoalManager.com uses a combination reminder emails, calendars, and reports to keep users organized and on track. Sharing goals with others who can give you help and support is a highly effective way to increase your chances for success. If some accountability system is not used then we are likely to lose sight and fail.

5. Frequent Review and Re-assessment

When we first sit down and start to define goals it can seem like a difficult and daunting task but over time it begins to get much easier. Patience is required. Goal Setting is definitely an ongoing process that is accomplished over time. Any goals program that defines goals and then ignores them will fail. All goals due in the next year should be reviewed at least once a week and daily if possible. The great thing about frequent review is that this forces us to make big decisions and determine priorities in our life. We should keep watch for goals that are not being achieved on time or for goals on which we keep extending the deadline.


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"Développez Votre Efficacité en 5 Jours"
de Christophe MONGREDIEN

"Les Secrets de Ceux Qui Ont Plus de Temps"
de Christian H. GODEFROY

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