Ceremonial Behaviors vs. Authenticity

Points Unconnected

Points Unconnected

I had been kicking around doing a posting on narcissism for the past several days. I think there is always that point at which when has to deal with a narcissist or sociopath over the years that you reach some type of “status quo”- that you have seen and experienced it all.

Although narcissists continually repeat behaviors, as they have such a limited repertoire, you should never fall into complacency with what they may do next. Even if the behaviors do not escalate, there is a sense of exhaustion by repetition.

I came across a phrase recently in an art book I am reading and it simply was this – “ceremonial behaviors vs. authenticity”. I thought to myself- what an outstanding definition of narcissistic behaviors.

Narcissists are all about the pomp, circumstance, and ceremony. They love carrying the bearing of the Grand Poobah of Life and they believe they wear it quite well. What they overplay in ceremony, they completely lack in authenticity.

I remember the other evening when my husband had to give his ex-wife a document (per a court order). He handed it to her in her van while she was waiting outside of our home. In her most superior voice, she said, “What is this for?” When he explained, she threw the document with disgust onto the dash of her car.

Only a 40-something-year old narcissist can attempt to pull off the superior, haughty bitch routine while perched upon her “throne”- a 10- year-old mini-van.

She also directed my husband to make sure his son was dressed nicely for his piano recital. During her time, when she had the child for his recital, he showed up on sweatpants, hiking boots, and a too small flannel shirt. The fact this happened on “her watch” does not cross her mind as she issues her edicts about what others should and should be doing.

We also have the ceremonial interactions with the school, where she plays the role of concerned parent yet refuses to fill out reading logs, sign daily agendas and so on (the authentic part of parenting- surely, in her mind, there must be some minion or two running around who can be assigned this task.)

With a narcissist it is all about the ceremonial behaviors-they often even dress the part and you can sometimes witness a complete change in behavior and physical bearing. Like an actor upon the stage- they attempt to play a certain role, that in their mind, is sure to win them applause. And for a time, it may just do that.

But when it comes to carrying out the role with authenticity, the only thing that resonates with their performance is dead silence.

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13 thoughts on “Ceremonial Behaviors vs. Authenticity

  1. Oh this is so right on! They have no concept of how they are ‘seen’ by others as they repeat and repeat the same ‘story line’ and behaviors or that they, themselves, have done the very things that they condemn others for!

  2. That is a good line, ceremonial behavior vs authenticity! I like that, and I was just thinking the other day about how sometimes I have to watch myself, and I while I really hope I’m not a narcissist, or at least not much of one, I like being able to remind myself to be authentic instead of putting on a show! Thanks Kim, Happy Friday!

  3. “The Grand Poobah of Life.” That’s both amusing and very accurate. Also the insight about the Narci-Path holding his or her ‘serfs’ at a higher standard of behavior than the narci-path does “on her/his watch” as you said. And you’re definitely right about staying sharp and observant; it’s amazing how it sneaks back up on us. 😉 Thanks for another insightful post and reminder. Jamie

  4. You’ve made me see just how narcissists operate, something I was clueless about before. It was like waking up and realizing I had been sleepwalking. Now I am much better at spotting this behavior and I know what to do: walk away! So thanks for that!

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