Perfect Mirroring/Narcissism

Perfect mirroring is a psych term I came across researching Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Mirrors and looking glasses intrigue me….working with stained glass is a passion (metal scraps and colered/textured glass shards make for odd reflective surfaces) I often get so wrapped up in a shiny tiny piece of my Piece I never ever finish a thing.

Odd how childhood disorders seem to manifest now, in adulthood, while as a girl I was perfect student with straight A’s pretty much without much effort. (If it had taken effort, I’d have suffered the drop grades that’s the Big Clue that something’s wrong with a child. As it was, I slipped under the radar. Too smart and too driven to compensate. No wonder I didn’t FEEL any smarter than anyone else until like 7th or 8th grade. My primary years were spent learning to compensate for defects I can’t ever go back and discover now, so well have I covered them up.

But the things that came easy to everyone else really did NOT come easy to me as a child. I distinctly remember staring at the blackboard in first grade, staring at “d” and “b” and wondering how on earth I would ever tell them apart? Them and “q” and “p” my already panicked brain raced ahead to the letters in the alphabet easily reversed.

I must have figured out a way to tell, because I became one of the fastest readers in the class, and never confused “b” and “d”. Until I hit 40 or so. Then I started slipping…letters started reversing. They still do. It’s bizarre. And I wonder if my overtaxed brain is giving up the ghost and reverting to it’s natural state of dyslexia.

I’m TIRED of solving every word as a seperate puzzle before we can even get to the end of one bloody sentence. YOU figure it out. Then those braincells check out for a long winter’s nap. (Well deserved–I do not begrudge them; more and different always seem eager and willing to take their stale old place and everything old is new again.)

Like the “twisted” sister in the Poisonwood Bible (who had big-time dyslexia–organic) would say: “I never get bored with a book, because when you’re done reading it forward you can read it backward and it has a whole new meaning” I paraphrase, and the gifted girl would probably then go on to read it upside down, then inside out…Yet she considered herself slow…because she had to work so hard at seeing life like everyone else–the LESS GIFTED saw life.

Yeah, that’s it. It’s not that I CAN’T see life like everyone else. I’m not alien. It’s only that I can see life in so many other ways at the same time. And I haven’t been able to distinguish among “worlds” which one has the proper dress code. One good reason for living in Key West. You can tell the Locals by how we dress–poorly. Cost of living so high here we can’t afford the latest travel gear like you matching husband and wife team tourists. So no one makes a fuss if you show up for the opera in (clean at least) shorts and Hawaiian shirt. So that’s one less thing I have to worry about.

But now I realize, I don’t HAVE to know exactly how you all think. I underestimate you anyway, thinking I think one way, and the rest of the world things somehow different. Not less, I’d be quick to add, somewhat disingenuously. But ego was an easy one for me. I never really had much of one to begin with, so the necessary step of being humbled was 90% accomplished by the time I reached that part of my path.

Problem was, no one seemed to recognize that truth, so, like Sea Biscuit, I was beaten nearly into my grave before one person, just one, looked into my eyes, perfectly mirrored my pain, and determined to drag me back to life if it took every horseman of the apocolyse and his goat to get me there. Here.

That’s another story. And really, it wasn’t perfect miroring in the clinical sense. It’s pathological in the clinical sense. It’s when the narcissist says to the therapist: “You can’t help me because you didn’t go through exactly what I went through.”

True, there’s a special healing that happens when you find someone who made it through a situation very very much like the hell you are in now and can see no way out of. The most sympathetic 20-year-old isn’t the best source of comfort for a woman having a middle-age crisis.

But that’s not what the narcissist is saying. He’s saying, “I’m soooo unique NO ONE can help me. If you haven’t been through EXACTLY what I’ve been through, i.e., if you haven’t been ME, you can’t help me.”

It’s not a reason. It’s an excuse. And thus he can’t be talked out of it.

That’s one reason therapy almost never works for curing Narcissist Personality Disorder. I knew this. But I still had hope for our marriage. Don’t ask me why. Denial? Stubborness? Love? I can’t tell you how many people advised me, warned me, unfriended me rather than see me destroy myself to leave my marriage.

I don’t listen very well. I’m working on it. Part of the reason is, I AM a Zebra, and you don’t perfectly mirror me and a lot of the time the advice you give me is based on a ME you don’t really understand.

But a lot of the time, you are right-on. And I have to remember that to…

The mirrors aren’t perfect, they are more like stained glass backed with bits of reflective metal. But they work well enough and are a lot more interesting than clear plain glass. And sometime that glass is clear indeed. And I see myself and see what I need to do and thanks…for letting me see.

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