It’s All About Me…Isn’t It?

“When a friend tells you a story about themselves at a beach, do you automatically think about your own beach story to tell?  If you do, then you’re being a narcissist.”  Or so Rabbi Shmuley said yesterday during his radio show on Oprah and Friends.  The show was actually about “bad boys” and why women seem attracted to them, but he also said that even the best of men have a streak of “bad boy” in them somewhere.  One if his goals is to rid himself of narcissistic behavior and then said the above quote.

It struck me when he said it because I have to admit that I do that!  A friend will be telling me a story and I’m often reminded of a similar experience in my own life.  Now before you all get on me about being too hard on myself again, I think this is worth looking at.  Of course, just being simply reminded of something isn’t all that bad but if you’re just waiting for your friend to pause long enough so you can get YOUR story out, then I think it’s becoming an issue.

Have you ever had the thought after leaving a conversation with a friend, that “oops!  I think I totally took over that conversation.”?  Well, I have.  I’ve always thought about myself as just talkative but I can totally see where it’s a narcissistic behavior.  Or do you give yourself over completely to the story your friend is telling?

Several years ago, I took a communication workshop.  We did an exercise where we divided into pairs and had to practice the art of listening.  We had a facilitator sitting with each group during the activity.  The exercise was that we would actively listen to our partner’s story and repeat back certain points along the way.  I thought I had it in the bag because I was SUCH a good listener.  When my partner began talking I was fully trained on her and what she was expressing to me.  Then she came to a scenario about her parents which totally reminded me of something similar to my parents.   That’s when the facilitator stopped her and asked me what she just said about what she was feeling.  Huh?  She was just talking about her parents – I didn’t hear a word about what she was feeling, and I had to admit that, too.  Needless to say I felt like a heel.  “I’m sorry I didn’t hear how you were feeling because I was too busy thinking about myself!”  Thankfully, that was the whole point of the exercise and my partner didn’t do too much better herself (we narcissists like company). 

So, I guess it’s just something I’ll keep in mind for the future.  Listen.  With my whole heart – not with half of it on my own experiences and thoughts or desires.  I can tell that this will be a challenge.  One of those that will take time and practice.

It struck me as ironic while I wrote this that blogging is a narcissist’s dream.  LOL  Post after post about…your’s truly!  😆

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About Debbie

I am a stay at home mom of 2 energetic children. I homeschool them as well. I have a great husband who, after 7 years of working away from, finally has a job where he is home every night. We are trying to learn how to live together again along with adjusting to the lower pay that came along with the job change.
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13 Responses to It’s All About Me…Isn’t It?

  1. Janet says:

    That reminds me of something that happened to ME the other day…..;-)

    Soooo true. I need to work on that one too!

  2. Joy T. says:

    I now have a new name for Gregg. Don’t tell him I said that! But it’s true. And he’s not the only one, after reading this I think I’m a magnet for narcissists. Super.

    You ever notice this happens at our Blogger’s get togethers? I sure do and often leave thinking “Geez Joy, you could have listened better to so and so when they were telling their story.” I’m usually pretty good in the listening department but for some reason that little group of ours always makes me think about things. And I know we’ve commented on it as a group and said things like “Oh sorry, it’s just what you said made me think of ‘this’ and I wanted to get it out before I forgot.” I do find what’s good about the group is we always seem to go back to the person who was talking to begin with. That must give us brownie points for something right?

  3. islephilosopher says:

    An interesting philosophy – and one in which I can so relate – after all we have our own reflections to ponder when told a story.

  4. Dawn says:

    Were you really talking about me when you wrote that?;-). Because I am guilty of being a narcissist. Funny how if it reminds someone of her/him self or someone else, it can be a narcissistic behaviour. I also love your last comment. On the other hand, like you said, it is okay to think of a story or be able to relate, it is only if you are missing what the other person is saying, as you replay your story or what you are going to say, thus missing what the other person is saying, where narcissism comes in. With that in mind, and with what Joy said about our group cutting in, I think it is sometimes because we are listening and we might forget, because it is a reminder and not a replaying in the head. Of course, that could be my way of justifying;-).

  5. Melanie says:

    Hia Debbie, I think I have to stick my hand up to that one. When I reply on blogs so often I share my similar experience instead of laughing with people at their’s. Oops!

  6. Narcissists RULE! You know what? I became this way during my first pregnancy kids. I can truly pinpoint the exact time it happened. Everyone asking about me, me, me all the time. And then when Pete was born, I was glad to stop talking about me and talk about him, him, him.

    And being in Mom’s groups where it is a pre-requisite almost to one-up one another. When really we should have been listening.

    I loved this post because I have noticed this about myself for quite awhile and wanting to change. I really used to be a great listener. Now it’s just like you said. And then about blogging – so true. And I can’t wait to finish scanning that post so I can push that comment button and tell my own tale.

    I mean look at the size of this comment!

    This post has earned you an award. It’ll be up tomorrow. Come and get it.

  7. Lisa's Chaos says:

    You had me at ‘the beach’, I started thinking about when I lived in Corpus. . .Maybe we think of our own story because it helps us relate?

    I’m so glad Melanie said what she did because I did that too and just thought that I was connecting with them. I never knew I was being all “me, me, me” Thanx to Robinella for pointing me over here.

  8. Kaytabug says:

    I see your point and it is a very good one but I would still like to believe that I am connecting with other bloggers when I relate to what they have shared. The knowledge that I am not the only one to feel a certain way or to have experienced something similar helps me feel less alone/crazy.
    I also have ADD on my side and I often blurt in conversations because when I am able to hold my tongue, by the time it is appropriate for me to respond I have forgotten what I wanted to say. That urge to blurt is crazy strong. I do my best to contain it but it is HARD. Anyway. Great post!

  9. Beckie says:

    I’m guilty.

    This is a great post.

  10. Junebug says:

    This is so true. I do this all the time. But I have come to realize it and I am trying to listen instead of thinking of my own story to tell after their first breath. It’s hard. It is really hard not to bring every conversation back to your own experiences. But I’m committed to try. 😀 Thanks for the wonderful post. Even now I’m thinking of my self. 😀

  11. Jenni in KS says:

    I admit to that being a reason for blogging. I don’t think I’m narcissitic so much as that I’m alone most of the time or taking care of other people or listening to other people and blogging is my chance to say what I’m thinking and feeling–without interruption. Now when it comes to commenting on blogs, I often do exactly what you described doing in the conversation. Sometimes I leave loooong comments all about me and my experiences. Sometimes I’m being silly and sometimes I’m just excited about making a connection with someone through shared or similar experiences. That is the real reason I think many people start thinking about their own experiences while listening to others–the need to feel connected. I do it with books, too. It helps to know that we aren’t alone in the world and that though we are each unique, we also have things in common with others. If that’s your reason, I wouldn’t call it narcissism. I do think it’s important to practice listening and control that urge to go off on tangents (mentally or verbally) in the middle of someone else’s story.

  12. Debbie says:

    Loved all of the responses here. Thanks to everyone who took the time. And I totally agree that there just simply has to be a BALANCE because, frankly, when I tell someone a story I enjoy hearing how they can relate to me. That’s how we learn from each other, right?

    And when it comes to blogging and comments…the longer the better! I love reading long comments to my posts. I feel like I’m getting to know the person better that way.

  13. Monica says:

    wow…the truth stings a bit! You are right though…blogging is narcissistic by nature…at least mine is. I mean, I thought I started blogging to keep out of town family members involved in our day to day lives and to journal things I want my children to be able to enjoy reading back through later…but, then a funny thing happened…other people began finding the blog and COMMENTING…people I didn’t know……..and, every so subtly, things began to change. I WANTED those strangers to keep coming back…I felt the compulsion to blog frequently so I wouldn’t lose those elusive readers. And I hated that in myself!!! It is an odd dilemma we bloggers face…choosing whether to blog for ourselves, alone or to blog to be read!

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