Saturday, February 4, 2017
Do Narcissists Have a Certain Writing Style?
a snippet of one of my mother's emails.
As I write this, I know people have analyzed my own writing. I am not perfect and sometimes my brain fog and medical problems are bad for my writing. I even can get writer's block, believe it or not and had some last week. There's things I want to write about where it sometimes feels like my brain can't keep up with the rest of me. It can get frustrating.
Once when I was arguing with some feminists on Ms. Magazine boards years ago, I got outed as an Aspie, and was told it was because it shows in my writing. I believe narcissism can show in writing too. Maybe we can learn to discern better whose a narc and whose not?
Maybe I'm a bit fussy but I am put off by blog and article writing by people who seem shallow and always take that "isn't it ironic" stance. Maybe this is neurotypical writing that Aspie me does not get. Life is always one "game" to them and object "coolness" is to be shown at every second and everything from car accidents to breast cancer are to be taken with a dose of extreme humor and "Gee Shucks" attitudes. Many of us have been tortured with the "Mommy blogger" brigade who write about "little Madison and Grayson" ripping up their living rooms and pouring a can of paint in the garage but there's tons of narcissists out there, who are also declaring themselves experts on everything and have flippant attitudes about everything.
Sometimes you see an awful ACON article that makes you want to rip your hair out.
Being an Adult Child of a Narcissist
Some sample quotes from the above:
"Sure, it’s lonely to keep a barrier up at all times, but we do what we have to do. I’ve proven time and time again that I can reject intimacy with ease. Hell, the fact that I’ve been married three times is a testament to that!"
"You desperately want to be clever or have the best or the worst of something. Anything to make sure you are in the spot light." [um not really]
"I’ve been reading quite a bit about being the adult child of a narcissist and what I’ve read boils down to this: we’re kind of screwed and probably need a lot of therapy." [uh gee thanks I think]
After I read this article, I felt like she was trying to tell me ACONs were horrible people. The article depressed me. I felt gaslighted and kind of verbally stabbed in the back, "I'm an ACON and I suck!"
I complained about this article to a friend, and we went to go look at the author's blog. It had the whole "snarky" David Sedaris style writing to it. She wrote about 52 thoughts that bothered her one night, her life seems pretty mundane and easy, she is not wondering things like me, "Will I live through another year?" "Am I going to be completely deaf?" "We better put 10 more dollars in the bank account, so they don't close it when I write the latest check". I find her life kind of easy and "shallow". Her nightly worries concerned her personal smells, looks and if some guy with a really weird name would like her banana bread.
I once found the blog of this woman, I know to be a narcissist. Well she's not officially diagnosed but she's like my mother in many ways. She is the widow of one of my husband's best friends who died tragically young. She once wrote me a note, after I visited her apartment with my husband during one of my ill years in Chicago to have dinner with his friend, "I do not seek friendship where it is not wanted". She had an autistic son who was born after my husband's friend died and is someone that has strengthened my personal theories about refrigerator mothers.
I noticed as I read her blog a few times, that it had the same "snarky" tone and isn't life ironic themes? It had no deep thoughts. I felt creeped out reading it. I can't link there, because this is the last person I want coming and reading here but I'll quote her. I am going to change a few words so no one can track back to her blog, and tell her I am writing about her.
Her writing talent is there, she uses descriptive language and a lot of adjectives but there's no soul there. She seems to brag a lot about being a "geek" filled with obscure cultural references and how intelligent she is. Oh maybe I brag on here too much too showing off my art work, and weird studies on how scientists use MSG to fatten up the rats, but the whole blog rubbed me wrong to the point that sometimes I go take later peeks in like watching a train-wreck.
She describes herself thusly
" "About ***********
I am all things to all people. As long as people are looking for a mom with different interests and a reclusive tendency to look through the window of life and wish (or imagine) something just a little bit different. I am like the Tardis on Doctor Who. I am much larger on the inside."
and in one blog article she decided to write about Squirrels battling it out around her bird feeder. [I have changed some words paraphrasing in all quotes to avoid track-backs]
"The squirrels watch for a few moments as the human wheels more and more bags filled with yummy tastiness to the smaller not-a-tree house to feed it to the albino beast living there.* They watch as she attempts a game of Tetris—trying feverishly to shove all of the stuff into a place too small to fit it."
The rest of the blog, she writes about having her friends in an article send pictures of what they bought at the grocery store and she wrote a poem to green peppers. In other articles she does articles on getting her toe nails painted, going out to dinner with a few friends and how she doesn't care ever to protest anything or concern herself with anything political because it doesn't interest her. She also posts about making Christmas cookies and puts up pictures of holiday lights, and turns spilling some sushi in her car into a giant opus.
[quote provided with some changed words and paraphrases but with the meaning intact]
"My sushi flies, joyful little blobs, dispersing all over the seat. Fortunately the soy sauce only threatens to spill onto my purse where it has fallen to the floor. I’m madly scooping the runaway snack food while I at the same managing to avoid the collision and get into a lane. I do not flick off the other driver, but only because I don’t have a free hand. I do cuss them out. My son is learning tons of important life lessons, no doubt; I’m just not sure what they are.
I ask myself writing this who am I to talk, I just wrote about being too deaf to hear people and have complained about the crick in my neck and food pantries but do you see a trend here I am driving at? Everything seems to be "ironic" and a "joke", and "nothing is serious". Even with the woman writing about ACONs, I read that article thinking, "Not only are ACONS bad, we are a joke too." They never go deep and one can notice, it's like life is just one big joke!
That is just one sign in writing that I consider a possible marker for narcissism. Another is constant bragging. I think of the letters I got from that "godmother" who wrote about her trips to Peru and wrote so many details bragging of all her successful children it read like resumes. My mother bragged at least 20 times of my one nephew the Eagle Scout. However that aside, the "above it all" crowd give me the worse creeps.
How to Tell a Narcissist by Their Writing