- Can Narcissism Be Cured? Adnotated.

Friday, 23 August, Year 11 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

The wrong question.i


"Dear Alone: I read your descriptions of narcissism, and it sounds exactly like me. I'm terrified I'm a narcissist. It's just like you wrote: unlike other people, I can't seem to make meaningful connections with people, and when I try it indeed seems unreal, scripted. Other people seem to have legitimate emotions, be happy, or in love, or angry, or guilty, and to me it always seems like I'm -- just a little bit -- faking it."ii

Narcissism says: my situation is different. I am not like other people, who are merely automatons, shuffling towards oblivion.


"Why are you so obsessed with narcissism?"

Describe the march of history over the past 100 years. Answer: Fascism, then Marxism, then Narcissism.

What distinguishes the three? Technology.iii

What followed fascism? War. What followed Marxism? War.iv


"But I want to change, I want to get better."

Narcissism says: I, me. Never you, them.

No one ever asks me, ever, "I think I'm a narcissist, and I'm worried I'm hurting my family." No one ever asks me, "I think I'm too controlling, I'm trying to subtly manipulate my girlfriend not to notice other people's qualities." No one ever, ever, ever asks me, "I am often consumed by irrational rage, I am unable to feel guilt, only shame, and when I am caught, found out, exposed, I try to break down those around me so they feel worse than I do, so they are too miserable to look down on me."

If that was what they asked, I would tell them them change is within grasp. But.


"So all is lost?"

Describe yourself: your traits, qualities, both good and bad.

Do not use the word "am."v

Practice this.


Instead of asking, "why do I feel disconnected?" ask the reverse question: "what would I feel if I wasn't disconnected?" Be specific, say the answer out

Go ahead, take some time, think about it. What does connecting feel like? I'll wait.

Let me guess: you have no idea.vii

All you have for an answer is images, fleeting thoughts.viii Nothing concrete. Some words, some phrases, bits and pieces of conversations you may have heard or that you daydreamed.

Now ask yourself, where did you get these images and phrases?

Imagine two people: real, or from TV or movies, that are in love. Pick two people whose love you'd like to emulate. Imagine them kissing, looking into each other's eyes. Imagine them making love.

You wish you had a love like that, but you don't, and every time you try, to get it, it is failure. Here's the reason: are you imaging real people, or TV characters?ix


The 1980s said:x "TV is a bad influence, pushing our children down the wrong path." Of course, it's Newton's First Law: a body moves in the direction of the force unless it is opposed by another force.xi

Where will they learn about love? They could learn from TV, or they could learn it from the generation [of] adults with the highest divorce rates in history. They could learn about the difficulties of raising kids from an ABC/Disney Special, or from the generation with the lowest birth rates in history. They could learn about morality from Sesame Street, or... but Dad always remembered to send in his pledge to PBS.

Parents had no time for any of these lessons. So instead, to feel like parents, they worried that too much sex on TV would turn everyone into sluts. That didn't happen, I spent most of my twenties checking. What did happen, however, is that a generation of males started overtly, without shame, craving sluts, and a generation of women would often pretend to be sluts. Think about this: the act was that they were sluttier than they actually were, not more pure than they actually were.xii

Parents were right: TV could influence kids. But not in the expected way.

But wait -- could TV be so powerful? No, of course not. But how much force do you really need to push a child in a polyester snow suit across a frozen driveway?

People ask: "why do you focus on pop culture?" Because that's all the culture 300 million Americans ever received for 30+ years.xiii


Imprinting was famously depicted by Konrad Lorenz who had a gaggle of geese following him, behaving like him, in love with him. Less famously known: it took him only 48 hours to alter their identity.

And without the use of TV.


So now what? TVxiv taught you how to love, it showed you what love looks like, feels like. But when you're actually in love, it doesn't look like that, so you secretly suspect you don't have the capacity for love, that there's something wrong with you.

Same goes for sadness. And it's worse when you're in the presence of someone else's sadness, you have no idea what to do. All you really know about experiencing these emotions is the script you got from TV. "Oh your husband died!? Oh my God, that's terrible! I'm so sorry for you!!" But you don't feel any of that. Nothing.

So you think to yourself, what the hell is wrong with me? This woman's husband died -- sure, I can fake it, but am I such an empty monster that I feel nothing?xv

Of course you feel nothing. Why would you? -- it's not your loss.xvi What's wrong isn't your lack of feeling, but that you think you have to feel something, that you have to tell this woman, remind this woman, how horrible is her loss. You think the only way to connect with people is to have their emotions. You think she wants to connect with you. You think she wants your help.

The problem isn't your lack of feeling, it is that you think that unless you feel it's not real. You forget that she has a life that doesn't have you in it.

What you should say is, "I'm very sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do?" and that's it. But that feels insufficient.xvii You think this because you think that there is something you can do, that the sadness is not real for you so it must not be real for her and you thus have the power to change it.

She's not looking for you to be sad, she's not looking to you for anything, her loss is bigger than you. If she needs anything from you, it's sympathy, not empathy.xviii

But no one taught you this.xix So you fall back on the character "man helping grieving widow." Action!

The problem isn't that you don't know how to connect; it's that when you do connect at all, you don't know what to do next. It's your unrealistic expectations of what connecting is supposed to be. TV is always about beginnings, not middles. Like love. The love you feel doesn't resemble the TV love because the TV love is the first three days of love, copied and pasted into a decade of episodes. But since you have no other reference point, after a real decade, you think, "I guess must not be in love anymore."

You are so unsure of your own identity that you don't know if you are supposed to be feeling, what you are supposed to be feeling, when you are supposed to be feeling. This is the same trouble actors have when rehearsing a character. They want to get it just perfect -- would Tom feel this? What's his motivation? And similarly you ask: would I -- the person I am pretending to be -- feel this?


Narcissism is imitating by being. It is method acting all the time.xx


The problem wasn't TV, the problem was the absence of adults, real adults who took seriously their responsibilityxxi to the next generation, who lead not by words, but by behavior. Who, even if miserable or unfulfilled or unconnected had the decency to fake it for the next generationxxii, for the people they touched. Who didn't cheat on their wives not just because they loved them, not just because it was ethically wrong, but because what kind of an example would that be to their daughters? xxiii

I know, everyone will disagree. Everyone, except daughters under 20.xxiv


I killed a mosquito yesterday, because it bit me and it hurt and I am not the Dali Lama.

The narcissist, however, says, "It's just a bug."xxv

VIII. The Solution No One Will Like

"I feel like I am playing a part, that I'm in a role. It doesn't feel real."

Instead of trying to stop playing a role -- again, a move whose aim is your happiness -- try playing a different role whose aim is someone else's happiness.xxvi Why not play the part of the happy husband of three kids? Why not pretend to be devoted to your family to the exclusion of other things? Why not play the part of the man who isn't tempted to sleep with the woman at the airport bar?xxvii

"But that's dishonest, I'd be lying to myself." Your kids will not know to ask: so?xxviii

The narcissist demands absolutism in all things -- relative to himself.


"But I had really good parents!"

Sorry, Leonidas, you were simply outnumbered.

The best of parents can't beatxxix the overwhelming influence of everyone else, of everyone else's parents, of TV, of journalismxxx -- of a culture that says, "well of course! The old ideas were wrong, we know so much more nowxxxi! We are touching up the last pages of history, from now on things are different..."

18 years of the best parenting still can't beat the morality lesson at the end of an 80s sitcom, presented as if it were a fundamental truth, known to all, incontrovertible.xxxii

So what about the next generation, those under 25?xxxiii If the problem was the unopposed influence of TV -- not the TV, per se, but the lack of opposing influence -- then the solution is some opposing influence.

I am nervous about recommending "the Classics" because it sounds contrived and pretentiousxxxiv, but anything that has withstood the test of timexxxv and is not something that was created to be consumed by current narcissist adults is as good a place to start as any.

Do the opposite of what the narcissists did. They wanted to know enough to fake it. They read just enough to use the book to build an identity, so they read about books, but not the actual books.xxxvi

If nothing else, reading will keep you out of trouble: every moment reading those books is a moment not doing something your current adults created for themselves that you're stuck with by default.xxxvii


"Why do you waste your time with pop culture?" Because you may not be interested in pop culture, but pop culture is interested in you.xxxviii

  1. Sure it can. Precisely like cowardice can be cured : take a group of cowards, skin half of them alive, select the cured out of the group then goto 1. []
  2. Let's not confuse narcissism with the unavoidable dissociation necessarily resulting from living in socialism. The reason life with Inca feels fake is because Inca is fake, not because you "have a problem". Get rid of the inca, you'll be rid of the "problem". []
  3. Hardly. What distinguishes the socialisms is Ballas' will to believe. Sorta like the will to live, except to live is to act, whereas to be-lieve is to... just sit.

    Isn't it remarkable, by the way, that the man did on his own power produce all the necessary ingredients, but then also on his own power failed to put them together ? When I tell you I am not particularly intelligent I mean exactly this : any of ten thousand people (if not outright ten million, which would not surprise me) could very well have written that article. Yet none of them did. I alone did, but not for being more intelligent. For being less stupid.

    To understand each other, let's go through an example. So we recently moved from our apartment in Warsaw to our house in Timisoara. The first is a three-room, single level, hundred square meter sort of thing. The second is a six room, two level, two hundred square meter sorta thing. Bimbo ambushed me in the kitchen as I was having breakfast this morning, and then "it feels like I've not seen you for a week". We're still living together, yes, but you see... the gross surface doubled, meaning the net surface increased tenfold. You can have three people (+ the occasional evening's fucktoys) packed in a hundred square meters, especially if they go out a lot. Yet the absolute minimum is perhaps 80% that, leaving maybe 20 sqm as a "net surface", the space remaining after all the absolute requirements were satisfied. If you move into a house nominally twice as large, your absolute requirements stay the same, the extra space is added to the net, which now goes from 20 to 120, a sixfold increase, and conesequently it feels like we're rattling in there!

    Same thing with people : "unde-i multa minte si prostie destula" quite literally means that people, irrespective of how tall, fat or intelligent, are nevertheless homeostatic, systems in equilibrium. An intelligent fellow will, voluntarily if disavowedly, balance himself out with stupidity. If he's ten pounds intelligent he'll find in the environment ten pounds' worth of stupid, and go about like that, at the same pace as another, one pound intelligent, who therefore has the smarts (involuntary, he just can't drag more around) to only carry one pound stupid, and also at the same pace as another, ten thousand tons' intelligent, who's decked himself in a small cruiser and goes about thusly. Among humans, the conservation of pace's the foremost concern (a problem aggravated by an overvocal female herd, but not created by them). I, on the other hand, am not particularly intelligent -- I'm just very systematicaly dedicated to not being stupid. A ten gram's intelligence saddled with merely a gram's stupidity will (unsurprisingly) blow out of the water a ten ton's intelligence saddled with a battleship.

    Be less stupid. I'm not even fucking kidding here. []

  4. Yes, socialism always leads to war, as unbounded future promises always end up shipwrecked on the jagged shores of reality. Sooner or later, but always. Then the "people themselves" start flailing about in a rage, and then they get butchered. []
  5. Because life is doing, like men, while be-lieve is sitting on ass, like women. He understands this, all of this, all the parts. Yet... []
  6. How the fuck is he going to know that ? []
  7. Duh. []
  8. Actually, all he has is Trilema.

    Not even kidding here, show me something else. What ?

    There's precisely one workable guide to re-realization available, and like it or not I wrote it. Your derealization may not be your fault, whatever ; but the only way out back in is my doing. []

  9. Fucking nonsense, all imagined people are "TV characters". Imagination is fiction, there's not some magical alternative process. []
  10. Sometimes I wonder whether his head processes reality in any other terms besides this manga visual novel thing. Wtf "the 1980s said", personified abstracts talking now ?! []
  11. Supposedly "our kids" were zoon not nude bios, though evidently that was an overoptimistic supposition.

    Think about it though : if all that ever crawled out of cunt were these "bodies" that "move as the force on them dictates", then why even bother with them ? A lifetime's supply of anticonceptionals costs less than a month's supply of diapers. []

  12. This poor guy, what the fuck backwater orcland did he live in ? []
  13. So ?

    Seriously now, who the fuck cares about 300 million retardicans ? []

  14. It's not "TV". The system is the system, Roosevelt = TV = paying your taxes = Red, White & Blue = female in "business" suit talking into the camera with fake concern = walmart = freedom of speech = man on the moon = social security = protect and serve = platform = everything else. The shit-ton's all in one strand, the last time anyone attempted to operate independently in the great socialist motherland the year was 1866. []
  15. No. You think, "this dumb cunt got a right to everything, therefore she is now nothing". It's not "you", it's her. If she wanted to be a person -- why did she live her life in the pigsty ? Let me guess, "she just wanted to" ? Aww. []
  16. The problem isn't that it's not your loss ; the problem is that there is no loss. []
  17. And how. []
  18. More generally speaking, empathy is a solution in search of a problem. []
  19. In fact, if there's one unifying thread of everything in the sad hole, it'd be a systematic avoidance of any discussion whatsoever as to how insignificant anything is. Can you imagine UStards gathered around a campaign for lowering awareness ? Yet it'd be well the fuck more useful, not to mention desirable -- and I can prove the truth of this through a very simple observation you're already aware of, which shows just how wilfully stupid you find yourself. Ready ? Ok, here we go : science is specifically the process of lowering awareness. All the things that were discovered no longer need to be researched, that's what science does for you, it permits you to lower your awareness. Now, why didn't the obvious ever occur to you ? Hm ? []
  20. In case you ever wondered why US films suck balls -- method acting may very well be the explanation. Plastic, cheap and unsatisfying, the method through which "the largest country in the world" (actually as large as the entire world, when it comes to any World Series) managed to keep itself from developing a national cuisine (or for that matter a nation in the first place) through centuries of continuous and undisturbed habitation. []
  21. The problem is -- that doesn't mean what you think it means. []
  22. Are you fucking shitting me !? The solution to a bunch of faker kids is parents who faked more hardcore ?! How about not trying to solve the problems of socialism with more liberal applications of the self-same socialism ? How about stepping outside of what you want to make true, and just letting infantile stupidity go die in a corner ? Hm ?

    How about you unquack yourself, Herr Doktor ? []

  23. Note that he says "cheat" while he actually means "fuck other women". Yet that's not what "cheat" means, that's what "fuck other women" means (and would give the absolute best and direly needed example to the daughters). Cheating is when you lie to the slavegirls, to cowardly support them in a misguided effort to misrepresent their own status of permanent second-bests. So yes, we agree with the words : don't cheat. Do exactly what Ballas expects you not to (or rather, expects he can trick you into not noticing exists, cuz he's so damn smart his silences enact realities now), which is to say -- force a bunch of women to correctly understand their place in this world, whether they "want to" or not (and be nicer to the ones that want to). []
  24. You'd be surprised. []
  25. And the Dalai Lama spells his own designator correctly. []
  26. Keks. Seriously, his professional solution consists of... "become a borderline" ? Neat. []
  27. Because you're not XX ? I dunno, just guessing here.

    The woman could've married another woman, if she wanted another woman. This isn't self-obvious ? Just because you prefer chicks to dudes, it doesn't follow that any chick you'd like would much rather replace you with another chick. []

  28. As it turns out, he's wrong. The kids very much know to ask, the few and far between worth anything. As for the rest... []
  29. Really ?! That's funny, 'cuz I somehow trivially manage, for my whores. I wonder what the reason might be. []
  30. Ohhh, right, "journalism". How could I have forgotten, Ballas' one true love, that cankerous obscure whore nobody else seems to remember. []
  31. And do they! []
  32. Is sitcom a new pornhub category ? What do they do, they sit on what ? []
  33. For them, there's some glimmer of hope. []
  34. And he's not meaningfully read them.

    Yes, he followed the lines on the page, sorta, mostly. But it all felt fake, like an act. He... well, he failed to see "how the classics relate to him". See ? []

  35. It's not "the test of time", weirdly general and ghostly like that. It is the test of people, actual wilful people just like me standing in a long unbroken line. []
  36. And then felt pretentious and contrived about those books. []
  37. This is actually a most solid point. Yes, the killing-inca move is to not play inca games. []
  38. Keks. []
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8 Responses

  1. In nostalgic Trilema,

  2. Funny how oriented towards the future is this test. What do you do if you already are 'a success'?

  3. Also can not leave comments on that article for some reason it seems, just redirects to original page...

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 27 August 2019

    @nicoleci Ha, nice find!

    @Anon Apparently the imported form had a stray <form name="form1" method="post" action=""><tr> in there fucking up my own form. Fixed now.

    As to the other point... well, nobody gives these shits to successful people. They're the fodder of psych undergrads and otherwise the mentioned ditzes, I'd be veheheery surprised if the average age of all the people who ever "took" one of these "personality inventory" shits came out over 29.

  5. Gracias por todo

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 23 May 2020

    De nada.

  1. [...] Can Narcissism Be Cured? [...]

  2. [...] down. The realization of the cost of my stupidity was a motivational wakeup call. I thought of a footnote from a trilema article: Same thing with people : "unde-i multa minte si prostie destula" quite literally means that [...]

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