The Cultural Era of Narcissism with Tara Lemasters

In a world of self-centered social media and “it’s about me” culture, the work Tara Lemasters is doing is of utmost importance. Tara is a Licensed Therapist and an expert on the issue of narcissism, what it is and what it’s not, and our need to understand more deeply what a diagnosis of narcissism means. She and Rob also discuss when exhibitions of narcissism are normal and healthy vs. when self-obsession begins to take a turn into something much darker, and the difference between narcissist self-obsession and real empathy.   TAKEAWAYS: [1:24] Narcissism is almost something that is correlated with addiction. Most people that have problems with drugs and alcohol also have problems with how they see themselves. [2:05] Over the past 5 years, the term narcissism has become embraced in every relationship situation in our culture. The problem is not the word itself, but when a narcissist finds themselves more attached to their needs and addictions then the people they care about, with no fear of suffering consequences. [4:00] The term Narcissism is derived from Narcissus, a figure from Greek Mythology. This mythical being was so handsome that he fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. [4:53] Our material and outward focused culture supports narcissism and the belief of “I must have / get more to succeed and be liked.” Social media also supports the tendency for us to show off or portray certain things to get likes or shares, making us feel more important and connected. [6:22] Rob explains how every addict is a narcissist when engaged in their addictions. It shows up in sex addicts when it is an abandonment of core values and beliefs, at the expense of compartmentalizing what they want, when they want it. The addicts puts the need to satisfy their own needs above others, and hide it so they can have their cake and eat it too. [9:38] Tara believes that the process of healing is a process of creating greater empathy for oneself personally, and for the people in their life that their actions have an impact on. When Tara’s clients start to experience grief regarding how their actions have affected who they loved ones, a crack of empathy starts to come through. [11:20] In the early stages of healing, Rob often sees narcissist self-obsession, where the addict is worried or upset about how judgements hurts and affects them, and their self image. Later on in the healing process, when they feel true empathy, the focus will be on how their actions impacted their loved ones. [13:14] Expectations do not always reflect reality when a partner wishes for their narcissist partner to heal and deal with their issue quickly. It may often take a while, and this can be very frustrating for a partner whose world has been shattered. Tara recommends that the hurt partner focus as much as they can on self-care and finding support of their own. [19:57] Narcissistic people tend to lack empathy, so they will do whatever pleases them the most, and not think about how that affects the people around them. There is a difference between narcissism and sociopathy, where narcissism tend to have intact remorse which may be brought out during treatment, but sociopaths are incapable of feeling empathy whatsoever. [24:46] Most men are problem solvers, and want to fix the problem they created. Their version of making things better may be radically different than how long it takes for their partner to heal from the hurt of their actions. [30:49] After a betrayal and initial trust is broken, it can never be the same again. Partners must rebuild together from the ground up, and it’s very similar to rebuilding a house from scratch.   RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Out of the Doghouse Out of the Doghouse for Christian Men Narcissus in Greek Mythology Tara LeMasters   QUOTES: “Narcissism implies that the externals is going to help determine how you think of me. Our culture certainly supports that.”   “An addict by definition is a narcissist.”   “Real empathy is not about you at all. It’s about understanding what others are going through as a result of how you treated them.”  

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