(Sometimes it is hard to write the post while trying to not inadvertantly appear to insult or complain about someone else. I do not mean to and hope nothing I write is taken that way.)
The person who normally sits next to me in the choir loft was absent. The person who sits next to her kept her distance rather than moving over to sit next to me. To my mind that did not look good, especially when we rose to sing. I started thinking Is it me? Is there something I have done that makes her not want to move closer? I could not think of anything, but I kept looking at it as it must be something that relates to me. The old "It's not her, it's me."
I was at the dental clinic. My student told me I had to get root canal.
"How long ago was it that you hurt the tooth?" she asked me. "6 weeks." "I checked with the attending dentist. He agrees with me. You need root canal." "You know it amazes me that it's over 6 weeks ago and I still even have a bruise." I said, pointing it out. "6 weeks? I thought you said 6 months." "No, 6 weeks." "Well, you still need it done." Surprised, I said, "Maybe the attending dentist should look at it." "Ms. Levy, he said it is necessary." I asked again, "Are you sure? Because it is only 6 weeks and not months." "No. He says you need it."
After she finished sanding and preparing the tooth for the next appointment I again asked about having the attending come to check. She bristled. "I am a dentist. I know what I am doing." Very aggravated she suggested maybe I wanted to have another student assigned to me. It was not worth the fight. I thanked her and left.
I knew that I had said "weeks" and not months. Every other time I had work done at the graduate clinic the attending checked the student's work. It was not an inappropropriate request. From my experience not being seen was the abnormal.
What does that have to do anything?
I started thinking. Maybe it was my fault that she was angry. I knew I had given her the right information; that she was a student and I had the right to have the attending check and speak with me. I knew she was wrong and not I. But, somehow or other it had to be my fault.
In a way there is no 'positive narcissism'. You hold yourself in an abundently high level of esteem to the point where you are the 'It." of life.
But isn't that the same thing I was doing? "It is not her, it is me." It is ME.
It is hard for me to find and make friends. It is because I have no family, no husband, children, grandchildren, work? This is how I explain it.
But. Maybe it is not all me. Maybe it is others, not willing to extend their hand further. To want to learn about me even when I work to learn about them. "How are you today? I heard you say (about your work, kids, grandkids, the world). That sounds interesting." Someone else comes along and they turn from me, looking to the people they know well, cutting me from the conversation.
(Sometimes it is me. I am uncomfortable. I do not know what to talk about when they talk about all of the above. A friend says "Talk about your grandcats." No. That is one more step into the definition of crazy cat lady or spinster.)
I have a diagnosed chronic pain disorder. The doctor does not hear me when I explain the pain. He blames his inability to diagnose or help me on me. "There are times like today when I believe in her pain.", i.e. there are times when he does not. Other docs have said the same in different words. "Your pain is not that bad." "It is imaginary." and so on. They don't believe in, accept my pain? It is proven and documented. It must be me, the way I appear, I explain, I behave, I speak.
Even the assinine. If I had something else, he could help me, fix me. But this, what I have. It is the fault of my body, of my ridiculous uniqueness.
I think of other times, other examples. It has to be me. What else could it be? It could be others, it could be life.
It is time to get out of my head, out of my negative me, me, me. Positive narcissism (I am wonderful, terrific, the be all and end all), negative narcissism (I am terrible, blameworthy, a nuisance, the Fault.). Too much me and too much me. There must be a middle ground. The trick is in finding it.