I am traveling and went to an art museum today! yeah! (I am actually staying at an Art Hotel -which is awesome in and of itself). Some of the quotes on the museum walls stayed with me. One in particular spoke about how art preserves and defends.
I have always liked the image of art as defender. Art defends the truth and forces us to see what we would prefer to ignore.
I saw this in action this past weekend with my stepson, Henry. After several months of conflict with his Mom, Henry has been in therapy. For the first time in months, he was able to stay with her and made no phone calls about coming to our home, etc. I was happy that he had this bit of healing.
When I picked him up from practice Friday night, the “switch day”, he ended up crying in my car for approximately 40 minutes- referring to himself as “stupid” and “slow”. Henry cries a lot, so sometimes you just need to roll with it and be supportive.
When I arrived home that evening, Henry’s mom had sent us an e-mail about all of Henry’s missed school assignments. Apparently, while he was with her for 2 weeks, they did NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING in regards to Henry’s homework.
Henry is not the type of student who can direct himself at school. But, his Mom thought is was best to lie. She told us that Henry had said he didn’t have any homework. Any one who spends 12 minutes, let alone 12 years with Henry, would know he is likely to lie about homework.
But, Henry was not just telling lies about homework, he was signing on the dotted line a symbolic deal with the devil.
When we asked Henry about his homework situation, he stated, “Don’t say anything to my Mom. She is finally being nice to me. I don’t want her to hate me again.”
And that is the deal with the devil you make with any narcissist. You agree to give up HUGE parts of yourself, so they will not reject you.
Henry denies and discounts an entire aspect of his life (school) so his Mom will still love him.
And narcissists force each and everyone of the people in their lives into these “bargains”. Narcissism, as I have written before, is, at its core an existential crisis. The narcissist is forever and always in a life-threatening survival mode (in their minds).
So they take- ruthlessly and fearfully- because if you don’t give, they cease to exist (in their minds).
So Henry signs the deal with the devil, symbolically denying his Life, so “Mommy” can live.
If you have ever had interactions with a narcissist, and felt you had lost pieces of yourself, you most likely did. it was the price you were expected to pay.