A few people have asked me on reading other parts of this blog why I have added a question mark to my description of TFW as a narcissist.
How can you really know?
The reason is two-fold. Firstly, I don’t know if he is or not. I’m not a psychologist obviously, I haven’t studied personality disorders, and I wouldn’t presume to ‘diagnose’ someone when I’m not qualified, and when I haven’t appropriately studied and assessed someone in a clinical way. There’s enough literature being bandied around on the subject of narcissists to make me think he COULD be, but that’s as far as I’d go.
Secondly, the number of times I’ve sat opposite a client and listened to him or her (usually her) fervently describing their ex as a narcissist – as if they were keen to convince ME – has made me very cynical about the popularity of the label. I’m not going to be a party to that trend, not least because it seems to be the abiding excuse wronged spouses or partners use for the breakdown of their relationship – the ex is a narcissist, that’s why my marriage ended, bla bla (it’s not even worth adding the extra ‘bla’…frankly I start yawning after the second one). When anyone in my business knows that it takes two to end a relationship, and chances are there was more than one narcissist in the relationship!
Scary narcissistic (?) women
I’ve sat across from a woman client who regaled me with how much of an “empath” she was, while her ex was “manipulative bastard”, while all the while her eyes are as cold as a snake’s as she sets out to destroy him through the legal system. No such luck, sweetie.
Quit the labelling!
I’ve also added the question mark because – well, frankly I don’t care whether TFW is one or not. Yes I have no doubt true narcissists are a genuine danger, but what do you gain from expending time and energy only to put that label on someone? Surely you can take the appropriate action without first applying the label? It just seems to me that those that apply the label seem to relish doing so. Is it because if one is a victim of a narcissist it follows that one is a good quality human being? I didn’t and don’t care whether TFW was one because I didn’t and don’t gain anything from labelling him that way. I was too busy trying to survive intact to waste my time trying to figure out what disorder he had, if any. As for now, I still don’t care. All I know is that he would be a negative influence on my life and ergo not a person I want in my life. Simple. The world is full of tfws and he’s just one more. The trick in life is to make sure their circles don’t intersect with yours.
Yes, I’m cynical…
… and I certainly don’t intend to undermine a true victim’s experiences. I’ve never been damaged by anyone, narcissist or otherwise, but I acknowledge there are people who have been. All I know is that I see that label applied maybe thirty times a year through work, and not once has it held up in court. What I would hope is that those who glibly bandy the term around – and there ARE people who do that, too many of them – just stop and think. Firstly, you don’t want to label someone like that when you don’t know 100% whether it’s true – and, face it, unless you have put the subject through all appropriate clinical tests, you’re never going to know! Secondly, all the time you spend reading things on the web or trying to persuade others that someone is a narcissist could be better spent just getting yourself out of a bad situation, and undertaking some self-healing; after all, what benefit is gained from labelling someone a narcissist except perhaps a figurative pat on one’s own back for being a non-narcissist (which to me is pretty narcissistic in itself!).
TFW means Total bleep bleep!
Funny… I had no intention of waffling on like this! I was actually going to explain what TFW means, which appears a lot in previous posts and I’ve had one or two questions about that also. I honestly thought that it would be an easy acronym to figure out. I’m not a big swearer so I’ll say the first letter stands for “total” and direct any readers who have come this far to this link for the other two words – an interesting read in itself! I’m thinking at the end of the day ‘TFW’ is a far more profound and meaningful label than ‘narcissist’ anyway if labelling is absolutely necessary!