A Matter of Perception

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In discussion with Dr E, he once asked me what did I believe myself to be. I said nothing. I have learned that it is a sensible step to remain quiet when Dr E first poses a question. He has a tendency to ask rather open questions which might be interpreted in a number of ways. If I immediately answer one way, he will then suggest that there might be an alternative viewpoint or way of considering what he has asked and he advances that different proposition. I know why he is doing this. He is trying to show that he is cleverer than me by coming up with something different to that which I declare. He wants me to assert my position first which will then enable him to try and unpick what I have said and thus infer that his comments are superior to mine. I know your game Dr E.

In order to counter this I say nothing. Dr E eventually has to (like most people) fill the silence. You know that I have no problem with maintaining silence for days, maybe even weeks. On this occasion he then followed up with,

“If I could elaborate, do you believe you have your own separate existence or that you are a product of how others perceive you?”

Good. Now I knew which of the two arguments he believed were pertinent to the discussion. He had shown his hand. All  I needed to do was select the better answer and my superiority would remain intact.

“We are all products of how others perceive us,” I answered.

“Why do you say that?”

The floor was mine.

“Whatever you may convince yourself that you are, you are actually defined by what everyone else considers you to be. This is because we must interact with others and how they regard you and thus behave towards you, makes you what you are. For instance, I can see that you are listening and paying attention to me. That demonstrates that you regard what I am saying as interesting and worth listening to. This in turn means that I am an interesting person and I have something of consequence to tell you. “

“I see. What if I said that I am only listening to you because I have been paid to do so and it is not because I find you interesting,” answered Dr E.

“The fact you have been paid merely puts us in the same room together. You are listening to me, therefore I am of interest to you.”

“Okay. What if I now got up and left the room so that I was no longer listening to you. Would that not suggest that I do not find you interesting?”

“No,” I replied, “that would signify that the conversation is at an end.”

“Very well. What if I got up part way through something you were saying and exited the room?”

“Then I would consider you as ill-mannered and thus my perception of you will define what you are,” I returned.

“But what about you? How does my behaviour in leaving whilst you were talking define you?” pressed Dr E.

“It would demonstrate that what I am saying is such that you no longer feel able to disagree with me and I have won the argument or discussion.”

“I see. What if we were not arguing?”

“I said arguing or discussing something, not just arguing.”

“Very well. What if I we were discussing something neutral, such as the weather?” pressed Dr E.

“There is no such thing as a neutral discussion. There will always be my view and your view.”

“What about if we agree?”

“Then you have agreed with me and accepted the force of what I am saying as correct and thus this reinforces my cleverness and superiority.”

“How about if you agree with me?” suggested Dr E. I laughed.

“I think you will find that you will agree with me.”

“And if I don’t?” he asked.

“Then you are being awkward and unhelpful but ultimately reinforcing that I am correct and thus I am accurate, precise and knowledgeable.”

Dr E paused and began writing something in his notebook. I waited for him to complete his note taking.

“So, you are the product of what everyone thinks of you?”

“Yes, see, I knew you would agree with me,” I smiled.

There was the slightest flash of irritation from Dr E but he cast it aside swiftly.

“I was summarising your position, not agreeing,” he said.

“If you say so,” I smiled again, “the fact is we are the product of what everyone else thinks of us. I am always admired, loved and respected by those that I meet and involve in my life. They admire my success, they acknowledge and respect my achievements, they marvel at my intellect and cherish the attention that I bestow on them. All of that makes me who I am because I must interact with all of these people. How they regard me defines me.”

“What about those that regard you in far less complimentary terms, those that refer to your abusive treatment of them. I have seen what some of them regard you as.”

“All of them are liars and lies do not define what we are,” I snapped.

“I see. What if they told you that all the admiration and love that they give you or gave you was false?” suggested Dr E.

“Now you are telling lies Dr E, none of that is false.”

“Okay, how about if the admiration and respect from those people was genuine, but based on a misconception about you?”

I have to give Dr E his due, he likes to pursue a point.

“Then they will forever cherish the misconceptions they have about me.”

Dr E paused. He made a note and then spoke.

“You believe that statement?”

“It is a universal truth.”

Dr E said nothing else after this but sat writing for some time until the session’s scheduled time had elapsed. I left his room feeling buoyant and charged.

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8 thoughts on “A Matter of Perception”

  1. Hello, I used to follow your blog but changed the name of my blog etc. I ofc returned since your blog is very interesting. May I ask you something? You mention that the doctor is playing a game with you and trying to win the discussion etc. Do you ever feel that he/they are in fact trying to help and support you? Do you trust them? (I hope so, would be interesting to read a blog post where you and the docs cooperate towards some kind of goal. I know you’ve already stated that you might have other reasons for therapy. But hey I’m still allowed to hope for that blog post in future☺). Cheers/SurvivedNarc

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    1. Hello Survivednarc, thank you for your post. By all means ask away.
      1. Do I think they are trying to help me? Why do I need help? They have assisted in me gaining a better understanding of what drives me and why I do certain things. I have done most of the work but I suppose they have been of some service to me. I am told there is further work to address although they have not told me the nature of this.
      2.Do I trust them? No, they are instructed by certain members of my family who have become thorns in my side.
      3.My brother tells me that they are helping me. He has no reason to lie to me but I suspect he is just mistaken rather than lying.
      4. I am content to continue with the interactions as I find them interesting, they often entertain me and Dr O is most appealing.
      5. Who knows what the future updates will bring (although I have an idea) so feel free to maintain your hope!

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      1. Thank you for your reply. I guess you know, but I’ll tell you anyway: I think you are rather unique, being a narcissist who is so aware of your personality traits. (Forgive me for my grammar etc, I’m European but my native language is not English). It is very interesting what you say about your brother. I believe your brother actually believes that the therapy is helping you. And maybe you don’t feel that way right now, but hey, things might change in the future. It is very admirable that you are in therapy – only very brave people dare to “look at themselves” in that way. Unlike you, I do believe they are actually trying to help you. (I am in a similar profession, so that is the reason for my belief. I know for sure that I always want to help my clients, and most of my colleagues want that too). Anyway, looking forward to reading your new posts!☺

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      2. Hello Survivednarc, you are welcome. It is my brother who has helped my awareness of my traits. I have known many of them for some time and I make no apologies for them. It is the way I am and I am proud of them. Some I worked out and others were brought to my attention, over time and with the patience for which he is well-known, by my brother. I will listen to him because, well, because of his situation he has no agenda against me, unlike the others. Believe me, the realisation has not been over night. I asked my brother if he thinks the therapy is helping me, after your comment and he said,
        “The fact you attend in itself is helping you in my opinion. ”
        I understand your comment about believing they are helping me and it is understandable given your similarity of profession. I accept they want to help me because that is the nature of those people but there is not anything to help, because there is nothing wrong with me, this is the way I am. Thank you for contributing and your English is excellent, so you need not have any concerns about that.

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  2. Oh sorry, I just forgot to answer your (rhetorical?) question about why you would need help. In my opinion there might be a few different reasons. If the therapy is successful, you might get better relationships with your family members. (That might benefit you too, and not only them). You might also find it easier to make a romantic relationship last long term, so that you get to experience the wonderful feeling of a mutually satisfying, loving relationship that lasts for a very long time. I also believe that the “beast” inside could go away permanently, to your relief. You may not believe anything of what I said to be true or relevant and that is fine. Just a couple of thoughts from a truly well-meaning person.☺ Cheers.

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    1. When I read your comment about being a truly well-meaning person I felt a tingle of anticipation.
      I am not bothered about the relationships with my family, apart from my brother and we have a good relationship. The rest of them are liars and only care about doing me down. I know their game.
      Why would I be interested in a mutually satisfying, loving relationship that lasts a very long time, when I am able to get anyone I want, when I want and that appeals to me more?
      I am very interested in why you write that the beast can go away permanently, please expand on that point.

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      1. Haha that made me smile!☺ The “tingle” part, I mean. Ok, I am sorry to hear about your family, for me the ideal scenario would be that you could get better/closer/smoother relationships with them, if that is at all possible. You see, in my world, I would be quite sad, not to have good relationships with my family members. But maybe this is one thing where you and I are fundamentally different: The need for relationships and bonds that are close, deep and lasting. It seems you might have little need for those, (according to your own descriptions) whereas I put great value on them and would have a hard time without them.

        Maybe these relationships are for me, what attention/admiration is for you, or something like that.. and as for your question about why you would want a long loving relationship… hmm, this is where it gets really tricky for me to explain this, without sounding condescending, or like I am trying to offend you. So I can start by saying that I really do NOT want to offend you. 🙂 Ok, here goes my explanation. Imagine that you are illiterate and living in a village of natives in a very poor country. You are very happy living this way. One day I come along and start talking to you about how much happier you could be, if you’d only let me teach you to read and write. What a wonderful wealth of knowledge you could possess. Books, newspapers, writing your own blog😉 etc. It could even change your whole future. You’d shake your head and say that you’re happy living in your small hut and farm your land. I’d be resigned but a bit sad, cause you’re missing out on a great aspect of life. I can not explain “real love” (and the advantages of it lasting a long time) to you, I can only say that it’s the greatest thing ever, and you’re missing out!😉 Oh, and that love is also what can chase away the beast forever (well maybe love combined with an extended period of therapy)! Kind regards/SurvivedNarc.

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  3. Survivednarc. I read your blog. Excelent. You could be me with your feelings… Every single word…
    And the song about the heart I dont deserve is amazing. Just bought it! Its even my ringtone😃 now.
    All the best 💝

    ps. Curious on what HG will answer you… Wise wise words

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