The myth of Narcissist and Echo is familiar to most of us. We have misunderstood a major point of narcissism, though and this has sadly, lead to responses and behaviors ineffective when dealing with narcissists because we miss the core issue.
“Ode to a Narcissist”
Oh, my sweet, sweet narcissist
Look at you-
In your graceless sorrow and sorrowful greatness
Preening as if all the world was but a stage
Head and neck extended, attempting as you do, to relate
The plaintive, sick warble issues from your throat
“I can not see. I can not see.”
What would there be to see?
asks I, standing idly by
You turn, teeth exposed, Raven-ous in your
Nuance is never your strong point, while rage is your default
I know you little secret
I whisper in conspiracy
Paintings capture your vision -locked unto that pool
You have stood by that damn pool for eons, Searching
Only now I know- It’s not the reflection which drives
and fires your motivation
but rather, the secret we now share;
You are staring because you see nothing but your own blackness
You are hoping and
You are praying
If you stare long enough
If you stare hard enough
You will see yourself.
As Echo and witness to your ever-lasting gaze
I simply say, “I wish you luck”
And those simple words almost kill you.
Our most familiar image of narcissism is of Naricissus staring at his reflection in the pool, while Echo looks on. We have mistaken what this image means. Narcissus is not caught up staring at his “wonderful” reflection. It’s actually much, much scarier than this. Narcissists stare and stare because they see nothing. There is no reflection for a narcissist to become enamored with. This is why narcissists are such needy people. They only see blackness where their own self-reflection should be. They expect the rest of us to provide the proper “mirror/reflecting” back to them.
The poem ends with the simple idea that all narcissists need us to care so much about them because they can not care for themselves. The one thing narcissists can not stand is to be ignored, it almost kills them, because without you, they are nothing.