Your Blind Spot

Why you can't see your own gaps ...

I am going to attempt something momentous today but know exactly how foolish that kind of ambition can be. Generally it is the subtle things in life - like changing a habit - that really are momentous - and bold attempts often fall far short of the mark.

Here it goes anyway ...

My big goal today is to start a discussion that improves the life of everyone who joins in it and perhaps even changes the course of history ...  and to do this of course I am going to need your help! 

Today I will attempt to shine a light into the parts of your life that you can't normally see.

Now any discussion with the power to change lives (and dare I suggest even our perception of the past) will need to range about and cover a lot of ground, so I will begin by giving you my view of the larger battlefield that I propose every human in history has found themselves on. For illustration purposes let's imagine a fictional world something like this ...

The earth is flat and at one end we see the grand continent of reason and the Upper Cortex whose landscapes are filled with bright towers of glass and whose laws are based on logic and pure reason. All thoughts are directed at higher knowledge and all lines on the landscape are clear and strong.

At the other end of our imaginary world lies the emotionally charged continent of the Amygdala - this is a land of no logic or rules - but where impulse and action rule supreme. Style, beauty and feeling are the guiding disciplines - no matter how decadent, frayed, tasseled or violent.

Now between these two continents there is a great expanse of water in which exist many islands and while they are the only truly peaceful and nice places to live in this (not so) imaginary world, very few people venture there. 

On the continent of reason, people are slaves to jobs they don't feel good about but 'know' are important. They only eat what is good for their health and won't cause them to gain weight and they exercise for exactly the right amount of time each day. Inhabitants of this continent certainly don't let their feelings interfere with or inconvenience anyone else EVER.

On this continent;

- Men who have families at home, work 50 hours + a week and only go home to eat, sleep and wash.
- Women employ other people to care for their kids while they work or shop (which is considered them helping the economy).
- People travelling from the continent of the Upper Cortex to the continent of the Amygdala as part of their work often fall for the temptation of extra marital affairs which then proceed to make their own and their family's rational lives unmanageable.
- People are made to do what they are told at work (or lose their job) despite their feelings about what they are being asked to do. This in turn leads to a steep rise in heart attacks and the reliance on prescription medication to help with this stress.
- Traditions, buildings and nature (which hold meaning and significance to many people) are regularly bulldozed for development based only on profit and anyone daring to shed a tear is mocked for their sentimentality.
- There is democracy, but politicians regularly break their oaths and pledges to the people because they can simply explain that the facts have changed since they came into office.
- Political protest takes the form of rational debate.
- People listen to Bach, Benny Goodman, Musak or political punk or political rap music.
- There is general suspicion and blame cast on the continent of the Amygdala (even though most spend their holidays and weekends there). 
 - There are unending wars based on profit and economic 'neccessity'. 

Reason can justify all of the laws the people on this continent live by. For example, looking at the first point above - reason would say that many women in the past have had to raise their children with only the financial support of their husband and that because women in the past could handle this a woman is defective and troublesome if she can't manage this too. The rationalists might also add that a husband working long hours for his family is what proves that he is a good husband and father and that really she should feel grateful that he works so hard.

The fact that she doesn't feel grateful but instead feels completely emotionally overwhelmed, distraught and abandoned at this expectation, has little relevance to the rational argument - and her feelings are hence easily disregarded.*

So here begins our discussion and I would propose that without being tempered by emotion, the land of reason, will always become very unreasonable ...

For instance, and continuing with my example; raising kids is harder work than anyone without the experience can possibly imagine and always constitutes a time of rapid (and necessary) personal growth for anyone who wants to be a good parent. Passing that challenge and responsibility to one partner in a relationship while denying the importance of their feelings about it (when our world does not have the extended 'neighbourhood' for mothers it once had) is neither fair nor reasonable.

Meanwhile ...

The people on the romanticized continent of the Amygdala do not even bother rationalizing what they are doing and if ever asked will simply lash out with insults or violence or else somewhat helplessly suggest that they are following their heart.

On this continent there is no written rules but the popular pastimes include  ...

- 'Crushes' which break up marriages and destroy familiar family ties.
- Pornography addiction.
- World of Warcraft addiction and other fantasy based computer games.
- Romantic fiction.
- Horror stories. 
- Classical music (especially Wagner) and Opera.
- Popular music including (but not limited to) Histrionic Love Songs, Shock Rock, Rock Operas, Heavy Metal, Power Pop, Cabaret and Country Music.  
- Alcoholism and drug addiction.
- Over indulgence with food linked to highly emotional traditions and holidays. 
- Public gatherings of overt and excessive emotionalism which may include some music festivals, sporting events, political rallies and religious gatherings.
- Romance, horror and soap operas in movies and on TV.

Now unlike the world of rationalism, most people in the world of the Amygdala don't even bother pretending that any of this represents wholesomeness or truth - but instead the people's urges towards these behaviours are condoned by tradition or common practice.

Now each world has its problems but to make matters worse none of the inhabitants can live in only one of these worlds for long and actually spend most of their time flying from one continent to the other becoming more and more confused and at odds with themselves. They want to achieve things in one world and feel good in the other but each world counteracts the influence of the other.

The physical and moral hang-overs they feel after visiting the world of the Amygdala interfere with productivity - but then most people in the land of reason don't feel good about their jobs or the way that childcare and unpaid labour is shared or organized in their families. Not feeling good drives them back to the world of the Amygdala and the negative cycle of their lives continues.

This also represents the history of the human race as popular culture and political movements sway from one extreme to the other, with hardly time to take a breath in the center. 

As you have probably guessed by the names I have chosen for the continents, I believe the cause of this duality in human nature can fairly easily be traced by brain science.  

I have heard a lot of talk in the last few years of left brain and right brain thinking and while I know they are very different - the truth is that our left and right brain have a lot of connectivity and do work quite well together, while our Amygdala (emotional brain) and Upper Cortex (rational brain) on the other hand are very different and often have trouble working together at all.

AND THIS IS THE GAP WE HAVE TROUBLE SEEING!

Our reason and emotion both want more love and respect in our homes and community and a more affectionate relationship and sex life, but day after day we get home from the same job that we hate and flop down in front of a emotional romance or thriller (and a bit of 'feel good' junk food), or else tune into sleaze on the Internet or perhaps catch the latest movie in town or go on a drinking and/or drug binge if it's the weekend. 

This problem is described very well in the book of Genesis, one of the most compelling and mysterious books in all of our history ...

Can there be any doubt that what was described as us eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents mankind's acquiring our upper cortex and hence our self consciousness? God knew that we had 'sinned' because Adam and Eve were suddenly self conscious and 'knew' that they were naked. How eating a piece of fruit can cause someone to grow an upper cortex is beyond my imagination but it certainly fits with the prediction from God that women would suffer in childbirth from that point on (our bigger heads) and also of men having to work. Looked at from the perspective of both religion or evolution, it would seem that us acquiring our Upper Cortex was indeed the point in history where slavery began to take hold.

At this point in the biblical tale, God feared that mankind had become too powerful and took 'the tree of life' (eternal life) away from us. It was not long after this that he also wiped out most of humanity with a flood. After surviving these setbacks God then shortened our life span and also sabotaged our ability to communicate (at Babel). God's fears about the human race can only seem justifiable when we consider the momentous struggle humanity has battled with to balance the treacherous duality of reason and emotion that is a part of every one of us.

There is wisdom in hindsight and it is this hindsight that I believe may help us in this struggle because far from over, unfortunately now - due to our mass media, each continent is even further divided and more heavily armed and we are at war with ourselves more than ever before in history.

The worlds that I speak of are not really continents but two parts of our psyche - neither of which will be denied - and that each and every one of us traverse every day.

As recreation we are sold blatant and mindless emotional excess while most people's work has less emotional meaning than ever. Children and their parents are divided; with adults expected to be purely rational (which they cannot reasonably maintain) while children and especially teenagers are shamelessly seduced with every conceivable form of emotional and romantic self indulgence.

The meaningful connectivity that the Internet promised is now severely threatened by the meaningless competition and small talk of social networking (and the looming threat of the Internet becoming more like one-way cable TV) and with most people not using their computers looking for real connection or education but as yet another place to look for an emotional 'hit' there tends to be less and less time for meaningful emotional connections in our home lives.

So my challenge is for us to get together and begin sharing concrete examples of how we might improve our own lives (along with the human condition) by bringing reason to our emotions and emotion to our reason ...

If you are familiar with my work you know I have already written reams on this subject - but today instead I want to get a discussion going and hear lots of people's ideas.

The problem is that these 'two brains' of ours are very different and it is very difficult to use our upper cotex effectively when our Amygdala is firing. I like the analogy of our Amygdala being a car alarm - you need to consider what it is telling you - but you also need to know how to turn it off!

Or another metaphor could be that we all are bicycles in a land that does not know what they are for. These bicycles are now either being used as very uncomfortable seats to sit stationary on or very clumsy push carts to push things around with, but neither use is very gratifying or effecient.

It is only when we dare to hop on and take a ride and start attempting to use these two very different functions of our brain together that we really begin to understand what it is to live an authentic and complete life.

Not the excitment of a rollercoaster or the security of following someone else's structured orders, but a real and satisfying life full of personal decisions and choices based on both reason and emotion.

I have some ideas on all of this - and Steve and I will be making some movies over the next few weeks on how crushes and other emotionally charged messages can be interpreted productively. I would also suggest that if your home life is in crisis you will check out our ebooks.

Our ebooks will help you develop an atmosphere of love and respect in your home in straightforward and practical steps that are less academic than the challenge I am posting here today. They are based on the same ideas however, and while not easy (like learning to ride a bike) if applied correctly they do work.

Otherwise please let the discussion begin - and if you know of other authors or thinkers please send them the link to this post and ask them to join in ...

To get the ball rolling here is a suggestion of mine for bring emotion to reason in regards to diet ....

My rational brain has a very clear idea of what I should eat to be healthy and maintain the correct weight but my emotional brain doesn't feel very much (except boredom) about any of that food. So to get my two minds working together I will draw up a list of the food I feel the best about and then think of healthier ingredients and ways of preparing these foods. I have also noticed that I feel better about food that I have had some adventure in obtaining and so I will look at what local farms I can visit with our kids so that healthy fruit and vegetables will gain an extra emotional significance and charge when we eat them (-:

I am also going to challenge Steve today to do a movie soon where we put both sides of our brain onto the question of sex. If he takes my challenge I will get that movie out to you soon but until then I want to hear your ideas! 

Kim Cooper
http://www.narcissismcured.com

PS. I have Craig Shuftan's awesome book titled "Hey! Neitzsche! Leave them kids alone!" (which I just finished) to thank as the inspiration for this post. His book is a cultural and academic study of history and in particular how the ideas of Rationalism and Romanticism relate to modern music. It is not on the subject of relationships - but if you have an interest in popular culture I highly recommend it!

* This disregard of people's feelings makes this continent a very dangerous place to live.

38 comments:

  1. The first problem is the narcissistic notion that God had any fear of us to begin with. The truth is that the closer all humans (right or left-brained, man or woman) come to realizing how completely human they are, the better off we'll all be. It's our own nature for coping with life's work and inherent desire to be God or believe we are like God that has ruined us all. Fear of God is the beginning of all Wisdom, as the Scripture says. My advice is that we do better to explore why we cannot accept this. The most credible non-religioun-funded research has discovered that the best marriages are those of born-again Christians. Why is this? Probably because both mates have finally discovered the org chart of life and are humble enough to buy into it and its rules for living.

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  2. Yet there are many Christian's still seeking answers and sadly we have many ministers wives come to us seeking help for their husbands narcissism. If you want to learn to drive you might pray to find the right driving instructor but prayer alone won't teach you those skills.

    In the same way prayer won't save you from an abusive partner if you will not take it upon yourself to learn new courage and new relationship skills.

    Looking to balance emotion and reason in our day to day habits is nothing more than a quest to become fully human. The intention of my words was to show that surely it must have been God fearing for us (with our new Upper Cortex) rather than the other way round?

    My simple exercise looking at diet was surprisingly challenging for me as indeed it was difficult merging these two sides of my thinking.
    I hope that you will try this exercise on some area of your life and let me know how it goes (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  3. I don't have hope for the human race, it keeps turning it's back on a massive history of wisdom.
    But working on ourselves is the only revolution. I love your wavelengths Kim and Steve. Keep the Faith, stay beautiful to each other. xx

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  4. Kim this is certainly an intriguing thought and I am excited to see where you go with it. I see some problem in identifying emotion and rational thought because different words bring different emotions. The bicycle analogy made the most sense to me and reminds me of your work where you examined each emotion. For example you asked, why do we have anger? Then you showed how we need that emotion but how we needed to channel our anger to be a productive growing tool. It warns us of things that are wrong but if we let it run away with us we are not using it properly-- hence the bicycle analogy. Or maybe I have missed the gist of your message completely.

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  5. thank you for this >it is indeed an amazing , energising ,and inspiring read ,i could feel my energy engage as i read your words> i am in search of enlightenment <ultimate realisation ?

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  6. "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity" Narcissism is synonymous with vanity and, paradoxically, necessary for our existence (in an appropriate amount). I look forward to reading Craig Shuftan's book but meanwhile recommend Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker as an insight to how narcissism, reason and emotion are funtional parts of all human brings designed to converge and create a human being that has one simple narcissistic desire: to replicate its genetic content through sexual reproduction. The conflict and tension created by Amygdala and Cortex are the motive force that cause us to act in creation and to provide for our family. In fact, the very tension itself is a necessary component of the vanity required to select a mate and reproduce. NPD is often seen as a defence mechanism designed to promote self-interest and that of one's genes in an indiviidual whose self-determination was severel compromised as a child, often by a controlling mother.

    Another great article, Kim, thanks. Lots to think about.

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  7. Not understanding the reference to classical music; I am a classical pianist, and live in the "land of reason"; and classical music is a spiritual, refining and defining experience for those who have learned to enjoy it, rather than to dismiss it as "boring".

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  8. Bravo to Anonymous and Kim Cooper! Yes, we are helpless in our human condition, but GOD created the knowledge to choose to implement His wise teachings through His Word & prayer to learn important lessons of boundaries, love, relational skills, submission and obedience to His will for us. Submitting to Him is the way He refines, protects, strengthens, provides and shows His ultimate love for us while we are here on earth. He will use others as well for His purposes. His ultimate gift is eternal life through God's sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ for all those who love Him and are called to His purpose. Gratitude for all God allows in our lives is for our good.

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  9. I love the analogy of our emotions to a car alarm. My husband has told me that when he gets angry (which comes over him quickly for reasons others would be able to handle), it is like a huge adrenalin rush like he used to get when he played football - the adrenalin lasts for days on end, and he states he doesn't know how to deal with it. The car alarm analogy is a brilliant way to explain the anger as a message, (what am I really angry about, why am I angry), and learn ways to 'turn it off'... I may find a time to share this analogy with him.

    Research does show that born-again Christians have the best marriages, especially those who pray together, yet there are many Christians who still struggle. My husband described above, is one such - he is 'born again', but I believe God is his Savior but not yet his Lord... so his 'org chart of life' is not yet fully in place.

    I love the 'org chart of life' statement! That too is brilliant and I will be sharing that at my Christian workplace today...

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  10. Isn't this just the human condition? Our cycles all come down to recurring choices or choosing new...what a glorious path to learning.

    Balancing the emotion with the actions is a life long process..as we learn and grow, we expand to new choices and new cycles.

    Thank God!

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  11. Kim, this is very interesting. I'll have to spend some time considering what you've said and what God may be trying to say to me through your thoughts.

    I want to share something that made a lasting impression on me. I was seeking God for help with a very emotionally charged situation. I asked Him to deal with me without my emotions (as I didn't trust them!), but He was completely silent and I even felt a removal of His presence.

    I know now that God is able to deal with us as a whole person, because He created us with reason and emotion.

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  12. I like the idea that you don't have to live in one world or the other, but the islands in the middle. I grew up with the line' "Should I follow my head or follow my heart?" It makes a lot of sense to decide what you really want and then look at rational ways of obtaining your heart's desire while still caring about the wants and needs of others. I am going to try it as I am so tired of following my head to the point that I am a slave to my husband.

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  13. The amygdala brain is the reptilian brain. Fight or flight. thats where I see myself for many years in dealing with my N. I have realized that i have not had strong boundaries for myself and have allowed this abuse to go on. Setting strong boundaries for yourself requires thought and goes into the thinking brain. This is so true. God has set everything up so we can be successful. He gave us his son who loved us to suffer for our sins and give us the gift of the atonement so that we can repent and be changed or born again. but faith without works is dead and there are things that we must do to take chargeof our lives and create the life that we want

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  14. The fiction of the “natural life” (without God) is, indeed, the truest expression of original sin. The story of man, as related in Scripture, is the story of a break in communion with God, the treatment of the world as an end in itself (“good for food”). We were created to be the priests of creation – offering all things in thanksgiving to God. Instead, we made the world our own servant to exploit for our own pleasure – and in the process lost true existence and joy. The cross of Christ, and His resurrection, restores all things to their proper place – thus bringing an end to the fiction of a “natural world.”

    Orgianl post from: http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/the-end-of-religion/#comment-42396

    "Glory to God for All Things" Blog

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  15. Kim,
    just wanted to let you know. My marriage was a horrible, abusive, unfixable mess. I am the fifth wife of my husband, and yet my codependant issues kept me searching for answers to WHY is he doing this to us? and yet so perfect to others? ...it was to the point that I moved out and bought a seperate home for myself and children, just so we would have heat in our home, an oven that works, and a washer and dryer. (and we were running apartnership business with a 6 figure income ) ...which hubby foolishly spends. your words and strength encouraged me to stand up to him, (not fight) but convince him that I was not leaving him, and NOT tolerating his behavior) ..wow finally....i have a great marriage, have taken a different job, control my own finances and most of all have gained his RESPECT...your insight WORKS!!!!!! could go into details all day. and could give ten thousand examples of what to do (or not do). I have learned to shut off his Narc like a light switch, allowing me to reach an unreachable soul! we now live in one home, DISCUSS feelings, make plans, and are completely in love with each other. THANKS

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    1. hi chely 5150 here-reply to anonymous dated 12-7-2010@ 12:12 - im new to this site as I have finally realized that husband is definitely a N. My children and I have suffered for almost 20 years - tried leaving several times was always sucked back in. Really tried to make things better throughout the years and wonder now why not one counselor we(I) saw ever used terms of Narcissist or passive-aggressive because I know I described many symptoms as listed. I always knew he had good qualities and felt like HE doesn't understand why he is this way-his stealth narcissitic father is the reason. I am a good women not perfect but always just wanted him to let me in. I thought things were improving until last sept. I found out about LONG term emotional affair-he says no sex but I don't believe him(didn't know he was Nar. at time of discovery) especially now I know he Nar. First day he blurts wants divorce but changes mind -loves me blah, blah, blah. Of course very devastating for me begin reading all info of infidelity, affairs etc and began to wonder why despite his claims of still devoted was doing absolutely nothing to rebuild trust- no remorse nothing- that's when I finally learned that he a nar. OMG it all makes sense now, you all know I really don't need to describe it. Funny thing is still love him but absolutely don't trust him. Says he ended affair but I really don't know -hell coulda been others I never knew about. Any way I would love to hear some of your ideas and examples about flipping that switch - I just ordered and cell phone total tracking device because if he has not ended this affair im outta here. But if he has I really want to do something to help I can see that this hurts him too -even if he doesn't get it I don't think he does these things purposely this illness destroys them too. Its time to join together and FIGHT this crap - I have to I have two sons (18 & 22) who are going to have relationship problems & others as this legacy is handed from generation to generation. Most advice on Nar. says run get away from them but how does that help society and our next generation - ill fight till my last breath cuz don't want my boys to suffer any more than they have. One last thing - anyone familiar with NLP - its neurolinguistic programming - was mentioned by a nurse as helpful. Im including my e-mail so you or anyone can contact me - thx for listening my e-mail is: sfgamerbabe5150@gmail.com I pray for us all!!

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  16. Hmmmm. There are many theories that you have touched on, some connected some not, I believe. It is my understanding that when we were created we were formed perfectly, with all parts necessary, present, and operational.
    But what we had to learn was "right relationship", with God, each other, and ourselves. (Including all parts of ourselves working together as "one body")
    This relationship learning is exactly that, learning. For love to be a free gift we need to chose to offer it appropriately and receive it appropriately. (Big word, appropriately)

    When Eve ate the apple and shared it with Adam who also ate. Many things happened.
    Firstly, I believe they failed to honour the authority of God as creator and all knowing and wise one and submit to it. (A heart attitude)
    Adam failed to exercise his authority over Eve and remind her that God had said not to eat the apple, and Eve failed to "discuss" the possibility and consequences of eating the apple, with Adam, before she ate it.
    All failures to acknowledge and participate in right relationship pointing to the fact that Adam and Eve were “babies” still and had a lack of knowledge, and understanding of the depth, breadth, importance, provision, protection, and reliance we all have on correct relationship with God and each other, (and ourselves), and the dire consequences of this lack of understanding. (Both Satan and God knew they were babies in this area)

    I believe that we were banished from the Garden of Eden by a loving God who had a Master plan to develop this "relationship" wisdom and acceptance within us all; of our own free will (something Love must have to be love).
    I believe He did this so that we would not live for eternity in this confused and dangerous and sad state, which we would have done if we had eaten from the other tree which would cause us to live forever.

    With this in mind I have read your material with interest and thankfulness as I believe you are part of that big picture of revealing the importance of "right relationship". I cannot stress those words enough. They look like two unassuming words but hold the key to life.

    We have only to look around us at the way nature is created and operates as a whole, in relationship, to know this and the way wrong relationship, of any type, wrecks havoc on the land and the people of this world.

    But back to the war within ourselves. I believe this most certainly exists. I believe that war is over;
    Am I a God? Or do I have a God?

    Because I believe we have a God who is already in charge (Thank God for that!!)
    I believe it is Gods gift to us this seeking, which brings us to the point of knowing He is there for all our questions and with all the answers we need, to cause us to seek understanding and truth and to continue to grow towards the Him in Love and acceptance of who He is.

    Without these mechanisms that cause us to struggle and seek help for the things that don’t work for us in a good way, we would not gain higher truths or knowledge or understanding or even have the motivation to seek Him out, He who is our creator.

    To accept this war?
    Know that we are in a battle between two forces (represented in all parts of our bodies) and look not just within, but to Him who knows the design and to Him who can provide, in a moment of revelation, the flash of insight needed to resolve our internal conflicts, our role is to keep seeking understanding.
    Personally I have become thankful for those “pains in my butt” which cause me to seek understanding and healing or acceptance, to gain peace, because it always leads me back to Him.

    I believe each has their own battle ground and not all need tread this particular path that we are on. My own journey seems to reflect much of what you are learning. That helps me to feel that I have company, and also provides rest for my mind as I can learn what you have already learnt.

    Submitted as a personal opinion of course.

    Is this the type of discussion you were after or more specific?

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  17. Hi Kim there is a lot to take in from what you have written. I saw a program about plasticity of the brain recently and had an idea which i dont know whether will work or not or whether I want it to work ! But my husband has been with his new best friends for seven months and is returning soon expecting me to be the same. We have been married for 42 years and since beginning his emotional affair five years ago, he has continued to live in fantasy land. I have changed, I have had to deal with serious family health problems on my own at a time when reasoning says he should have been here to support me. So, we have been chatting online all this time and at times when facing real stress, he has been openly in denial. I have saved the online chats and had an idea for us to role play when he gets back. He will read out my lines and I will read out his responses. I want him to feel some of the emotion and hurt I felt in his responses. Also, I might be able to draw out from him what he was thinking truly feeling. Crazy perhaps ? Going back to retraining the brain, I am also going to use the techniques that I believe his new love used to catch him. Lots of touching, gently on shoulder, ears (she just loves his ears !) and moving in closer to him when talking across the table or on a couch and eye contact. What do you think ? I know its not as deep as your article but trying to bridge gap between reasoning and fantasy is not easy. Hope my comment isnt too light. Mary

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  18. I'd also like to comment on

    "Why we can't see our own gaps?"

    Once I asked Him who knows all the answers..
    "Why can't that person "hear" oe "see" what I am saying when it is the truth and so clear and simple?"

    His answer was...

    "That person hasn't yet paid the price required for them to know the truth that you are offering, I have covered their eyes and filled their ears with cotton wool so that they can't hear or see what you are saying"

    I was so relieved. He manages the flow and timing of information. How cool is that?

    For one who has been extremely broken early in life and been re-grown up by God..it was great to know he could even protect each of us from learning too early things that could harm us or cause our pride to become over inflated.

    So..
    Maybe having Gaps is not such a bad thing...maybe not having a desire to overcome them and doing all that is required to overcome is the bad thing.

    Just a thought to add to my last post.

    :)))

    Go Kim and Steve. I love this "race" you are both running.

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  19. Hi everyone (-: - to anon with a great marriage now - congratulations! We love to hear when people find the same success we have.

    I appreciate everyones contributions but I was not really aiming at a theological or philosophical discussion here (LOL). I am not sure how useful that will be to my readers as it can very easily just turn into ego as everyone argues about whose beliefs are correct (-:

    What I am really hoping is that you will hop in and give my idea a try!

    I will give another quick example of bringing reason to emotion ....

    We will use the example of a person who develops a terrible crush on someone close to their family. Their heart aches with emotion but their reason says that this realtionship would tear apart their family and even their community. What should they do?

    Our work with emotional intelligence would tell me that this persons emotions are giving them a strong message which is that their emotionality is being denied and their connections with their family may have become shallow and somewhat superficial and perhaps they are spending too much time in the rational world at work. It would only be destructive to allow an excess of emotion to allow this crush to lead to an affair (and exccess emotion just about always leads to tradgedy and destruction) - so using both their heart and their head this person instead heeds the message and plans a break with their family going somewhere that will nourish their connects and also nourish their heart.

    OK so that is the general idea - Now let's see if you can have a go at an example from your own life (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  20. Hi to Mary,

    While forming a strong attachment with affection etc. is important I think it is also important that you be yourself.

    Having strong goals for yourself and firm boundaries and knowing how to set him small but doable challenges which will begin helping him fill his gaps is what will make you attractive.

    I am very fearful for you that trying to get him to feel your pain will not work.

    He may like all of the attention but it is really giving him far to much of the stage.

    I highly suggest that you read my posts here (you will find the index on the top right hand side of this page) titled "the challenge of your life" and "Emotional Abuse - the man who will not commit emotionally".

    We are here if you need us and hang in there!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  21. Hi to anon with the question about Classical Music. I know Classical Music probably seems strange on my list, next to other very unrefined behaviour such as World of War Craft addiction and pornography! What I am suggesting about these two worlds however is that neither is right - it is the extremes and not being able to find the center that is wrong and that hurts us. You will see that I have placed Bach in the land of reason because he was from the Baroque and his music, as fit with the times, was less emotional and more based on reason. Wagner on the other hand was very excessive in his use of drama and emotion and has actually inspired a lot of the louder and more dramatic rock music (and especially rock operas) that we hear today.

    Music is very emotional in it's nature and an over indulgence in it - without reason - has led many peoples lives to tragic ends.

    I love music however and poetry and anything beautiful that stirs the emotions in a postive way - as most classical music does. Steve is a bit of a classical music buff in fact and is helping me with this as I write!

    The point here is balance. Classical music had Remenyi, List and Berlioz but it also had Bach and Brahms. Bach of course was technically not classical but Baroque and I guess this is why I have included him in the land of Reason. Baroque was the music of the enlightenment, a time when reason reigned supreme while classical music arose in the time of Romantism when the pendulum had certainly swung too far the other way and popular culture had become very excessively emotional and even decandent.

    Neither is right however and both extremes are wrong! As Craig Shuftan suggests in his excellent book which inspired this article, Romantism sprung from Reason being taken to an extreme in the enlightenment when humanity was told that science and logic would solve all of the worlds problems.

    It didn't and in fact led to terrible blood shed and chaos and then as the pendulum swung back too far the other direction (to excessive emotionalism) the monsters (Dracula and Frankenstein) of Romantism were born - and are still with us today.

    So classical music being overly emotional was a symptom of the times but of course it was not ALL excessively emotional - there were of course musicians such as Brahms who found more balance - not only in their music but also in their personal lives.

    I hope this explains the historical perspective I am offering on this better.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  22. I love what you wrote here, Kim, and I enjoyed reading all the readers' posted comments. I know it wasn't meant to be turned into a philosiphical or theological discussion, but there are some very good points made. Granted, the discussion could get off-course if it ONLY ended up on theology, but I think most of the comments (so far) added value to what you wrote about the upper cortex and the amygdala. Anyway, these two extremes on a flat earth are definitely a problem. Is it possible for a narcissist to spend all their time on the Amygdala end, even with brief visits to the upper cortex? Meaning, they use the upper cortex world to play out the Amygdala world with fantasy, dreaming, and even using drugs like marijuana while CONTINUING to work at home outside in their shop every evening. Or using the upper cortex world as their mask for living in the Amygdala world? Just wondering if it's possible for people to become so addicted to the Amygdala world that they aren't even functioning in the Upper Cortex world- they only appear to be. This seems to be the case with the N I've finally realized will never change and that it's time for me to leave for safety reasons.

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  23. Hi Kim,
    Just as I was reading your last post here, I was sensing the word 'balance'.. then I read it. Bringing the two worlds of reason and emotion into balance.
    This is something I have to contemplate more.. as I have a very strong logical mind and apply it alot.. and yet I am very driven emotionally, spiritually, instinctually, I love writing poetry and expressing with words... I've always wandered which is stronger, but know not.
    So I take this challenge up over the next 24 hours happily, with depression being a theme in my life, finding where these two are balanced will be helpful.
    I think an example in my life now might be regarding my 'lost' (alienated) daughter since almost 3 years ago... I am very emotionally charged whenever I think of her, the sadness, the disbelief obviously... balancing that out with logic has been hard as I can't actually see her or do anything for her, i can't help her which is a 'logical' and very strong desire. This has left me with constant thoughts being all about the very strong emotions of her loss.. grief.
    One thing I did since just over a year ago was create our web site where I express my thoughts and tell her loving things, also practical things, little girl talk etc. It's an emotional outlet, but it's like this 'logical step' I've taken to help her from a distance (and perhaps for the future - as she doesn't yet have access to it). I recall this being quite a shift in how I felt when I introduced it. Perhaps that may be because it balanced out these two of 'emotion' and 'logic' a little..?

    Not sure if this fits for your example?

    (My N is her father/my ex b.t.w.)

    Regards,
    Grieving Mum.

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  24. Dear Anonamous (ie. .."the N I've finally realized will never change and that it's time for me to leave for safety reasons"...)
    ..to you, or any other thinking of leaving your "N", if you have children, please take extreme caution in how you do it, I cannot emphasise enough no matter how close, loving and caring your N may feel towards your children, you will be blown away what they may be capable of doing to them (as pawns) in their emotional games etc. Kim's advice in Back from the Looking Glass is very supportive for this... be sure to work strongly with your network of supports.

    Regards,
    Grieving Mum

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  25. Hi Kim - With all due respect, Classical and Romantic are two distinct styles and flourished during different time periods (very roughly 1700s for Classical, and 1800s for Romantic). Classical composers include Mozart and Haydn, while Romantic composers include Liszt and Wagner, with Beethovan bridging the gap.

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  26. Hi anon,

    Thanks for explaining that to me. I am learning more about this history all the time. The gap you have showed up in my knowledge might make for some good holiday reading for me!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  27. From a theological standpoint our democratic society will allow us to voice our freedom on religious views.
    From a scientific view ,that little almond thingy called the amigdyla is extremely powerful yet controllable.
    Myself, may I be best described as a temporarily reformed narcissist, so please be gentle on me with my synopsis.
    1. Have you ever been as angry as a snake, as proud as Lucifer himself and walked into a debate with tunnel vision of your own views, without sticking to the subject and applying the Bunsen burner to the opposing side .Or have you ever walked into the same situation leaving your knowledge, intellect and bias behind and looking at the issue at hand.

    Apply this to the situation
    This is where the hemispherical thingy comes into play, with your eyes, roll them up and to the left when you are thinking the subject through and write your thoughts down.
    Perform the same process this time looking to the right, i don’t know what it is, or how it works but the looking to the right process is rational, congenial and loving.

    Does that mean you have by-passed using the amygdala and have used the creative part of the scone.

    Why is it so Mr Sumner-Miller

    P.S I hope I have explained this well ,

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  28. Judaism teaches that emotional health is the extent to which one imitates G-d, i.e., g-dliness. The Hebrew word for "character traits" is "midos," meaning "measurements." This suggests that emotional health / good character are about balance and applying the right amount of the right emotion to a given situation. This requires wisdom. Intellect and reason are the beginning of wisdom.
    In your metaphor, the Generation of the Flood is akin to the island of amygdala; and the Tower of Babel to the Upper Cortex. Both deny the existence and sovereignty of a Higher Power. Both extremes are dangerous and cause the breakdown of society. Hellenism is still very much alive in the world today. And Nazism and the Holocaust are examples of rationalism taken to the extreme.
    Judaism also teaches that the GREATEST prophet was Moses. Why? Because he was the MOST HUMBLE. Humility means a true assessment of one's worth, including the good and bad, strengths and weaknesses. Humility is the beginning of change and emotional health.

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  29. Balance is something my N just cannot do. In anything, even if it is something not so destructive, ie taking up a sport or exercising-it all becomes about him. If we interfere in anyway or if I ask him to reduce any time spent on whatever it is he is currently obsessing about he explodes-I am selfish and unsupportive. In the past I would yell back and attempt to show him the error of his ways. Since reading your book I am getting much better at using the magic scissors. :)

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  30. Hi Kim,

    Still not able to focus an awful lot on what you are saying but a small comment made to lady who is trying to get her partner to feel her pain helped. I realize this is also what I've been trying to do. I agree it will not work and is only giving attention to one who caused the pain.

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  31. Astute observations Kim. Humanity keeps eating of the forbidden fruit, when we learn to refuse the fruit of the narcissist, things will change. Adam "was there" , watched and allowed his wife to eat then with free will, he eats himself. This also explains a lot of men's problems with women; she passes the fruit as a test to see if he will man up and refuse the test. "Well if I eat the fruit with blind ambition, she will have sex with me" And actually its the man who refuses the fruit, and passes the test, who she most likely to sleep with. That's why so called "bad boys" are popular, they don't care what she thinks and doesn't kiss her ass.
    We have removed ourselves from the organic natural world, and live in the "realm of the material affects"; "maybe if I have that nice car, she will like me". And she might for a while. But you are probably nice and boring too. And these people have been breeding for thousands of years, the human race has never fully actualized and reconciled the reptilian with the rational. And because of that we live in a toxic cesspool of chemicals, and poisonous personalities, many who we have allowed to seduce us down to the primitive state, hence war, cancer, pollution and broken relationships etc.
    Andre'

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  32. Anonymous - Please let us not be in a rush to assume that when Born Again couples report themselves as "happy" this means that the union is healthy - meaning that there has been substantial individuation on the part of both of them and that developmental gaps have been caught up well, as you and Steve discuss. My experience would suggest that these couples have a strong common orientation in life (unless one falls out of that orientation); and from what I've witnessed they also have clear relational roles for both the man and the woman. These factors would naturally eliminate a lot of the tensions other couples can experience. Like the woman you mentioned, Kim, on your "Power of Love" talk show with Steve, who said there was no abuse - but she simply didn't bring up anything he might object to! Simply having a structure that prevents bringing stuff up because it's agreed that it doesn't belong according to the expected roles isn't the same as a full, rich, vital engagement with each other and life. My hunch is that codependence can be very much alive and well in these unions. I'm not saying that's necessarily the case. Religion in general can play a big part in training us into codependence rather than assisting our growing out of it. And when people are trying to be what they believe is "Christ-like", it can, I think, get confusing who they end up becoming because it might not be themselves; and then who is it you're having a relationship with? - a real person and a real embodied and grounded Christian or a fantasy? I'm not talking theoretically. I've had some weird experiences and have ended up wondering who's 'at home' in some people who become "Born Again". Any kind of role-playing, Christian or otherwise, is just more codependence, isn't it?
    There's a book called Co-Dependence: Misunderstood-Mistreated, by Anne Wilson Schaef. This book is a big help in getting a grip on the many factors that trigger us into codependent behavior (as are you, Kim & Steve!), and Schaef lays out examples of the way family, school and religion train us into some of the key features of codependence. This is a BIG help, because the more we can see how little to blame we all are for having developed this way, the more we can embrace the work you lay out for us, Kim and Steve, and to do it wholeheartedly! Thanks. I am already so grateful I googled narcissism on behalf of a brother with a shopaholic wife who refinanced the house with a second mortgage to cover her $75K debt - and the both of us with an abusive mother and still reaping the bad crop in our own lives because of it. But I'm getting to work on it, and I hope he will soon, too.
    Do you have anything to say about handling sexual violence in a marriage? I know someone who would dearly appreciate validation of the devastation of being raped by one's marital partner. Absolute breach of boundaries, to force the other by violence to engage in sex, I think. But this person gets no corroboration on how devastating this experience is.
    Let's keep on!

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  33. Yes codependence certainly creeps into our education.

    Jesus for instance taught that he would be with his followers in the end and give them victory - not to encourage them to sit down and not bother fighting - but instead to give needed courage in the fight!

    Looking to Jesus as a hero who will save us I believe is spiritual codependence. The fight and the struggle - whether it be for our freedom or the development of our own character is ours and ours alone. It is one thing to know that you are supported but quite another to leave off the fight and think someone else will fight it for you.

    The police I believe are least equipped to deal with this divide of emotion and reason which they have to deal with everyday.

    They tend to be very proud of how well they stand on the side of reason (until of course someone manages to provoke them!).

    Because of this it is very important when dealing with the police that you do not try and use emotionality to sway them.

    What I mean by this is that if there is rape within a marriage the victim will need evidence and to present their reporting of the crime as rationally as possible.

    It may also help to do some research first by asking around and making some enquiries to make sure you present this to someone who is most likely to help you from the start.

    It would also be wise to know what outcome you want as the police may be suspicious and think the victim is trying to sway a divorce settlement.

    What the victim wants may range from the perpetrator being charged and jailed to them being warned of the possible consequences of their actions if this behavior continues.

    Please remember that this does not mean you will get what you want. To a large degree any charges laid will be up to the police, but as they may not know how to proceed in this type of situation letting them know what you want may help them see that 1. You are rational and not just being over emotional 2. You are looking for true justice and not revenge and so this might lead them to be more inclined to believe you.

    As with pressing charges on any crime this whole matter can be very messy and so yes it is important that this behavior is stopped and an effective boundary put in place - but you will want to have some very clear ideas of what you are trying to achieve by reporting this type of crime and how your are going to manage the defensiveness of the person being accused.

    Back from the Looking Glass has a lot of information on this and may help with setting this kind of boundary.

    I have personally never been raped and so it is difficult for me to imagine how traumatized a person facing this situation at home must feel.

    Kim Cooper
    http;//www.narcissismcured.com

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  34. Getting back to the challenge of the reasonable and emotional brain concerning eating healthier. I also agree that this requires thought, which when engaged is almost calming. Problem being that most emotional eating for me comes with impulsiveness, acting without thinking. It takes a lot of control to begin to override this. When it does happen, it is pretty powerful. Eating healthier is a great place to begin to train ourselves to overide impulsive thoughts and gain control. It can then translate to other parts of our lives. I have to remember to slow down and think, this is key!

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  35. I am a believer in astrology, so the "original chart of life" easily put me in the mind of a Natal Birth Chart drawn up by an astrologist (my term for amateur). Many personality traits can be understood as part of the original birth plan/theme of the new lifetime.

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  36. Dear Kim
    As you clearly have a lot of knowledge and understanding about NDP, Im guessing yo are also familiar with BPD. The best known treatment for BPD is DBT, which involves mindfulness - the place where emotional mind and rational mind intersect - add intuition and you arrive at a calm place of "knowing". - which is the goal of mindfulness. Are you familiar with Linehan's work?

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    Replies
    1. No I am not but it sounds interesting, where is the best place to start?

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