Fixating on Demons

Dombek makes this case elegantly, and by heavy implication: If you are strongly averse to something, won’t you inevitably have trouble recognizing it within yourself? The religious fear of evil can itself lead to evil—a desire to protect unborn children, for instance, can cause a callous disregard for women’s lives. The fear of being inconsistent about one’s feminism often leads one to be inconsistent about one’s feminism. Fixating on any demon necessitates a deep familiarity with it, and today my fear of narcissism derives from intimate acquaintance with the many evolving ways a person can bend her life into a flattering mirror online. In the book’s opening section, before giving up the first-person pronoun, Dombek writes, “If using the word I_ _turns out to be a symptom of narcissism, you won’t hear from me again.”

As a reader, I resisted this notion: there’s a plain responsibility to the “I” when it’s used well, an admission that human experience is often too specific for a “we.” But as a writer I know exactly where Dombek is coming from. This fear of appearing narcissistic—of being_ _narcissistic, deep down—is where a particularly elusive form of the disorder may live. I am disturbed by the idea of being narcissistic, and yet I find other people’s self-absorption merely embarrassing. If that disturbance stems from an abiding suspicion that I can’t see myself clearly, well, what greater proof of overwhelming self-concern could there be?

Jia Tolentino
@jiatolentinoJia Tolentino is a staff writer at The New Yorker whose work includes an exploration of youth vaping and essays on the ongoing cultural reckoning about sexual assault. Previously, she was the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at the Hairpin. She grew up in Texas, attended the University of Virginia, served in the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan, and received an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Michigan. Her first book, the essay collection “Trick Mirror,” was published in August, 2019.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/jia-tolentino/what-happens-when-we-decide-everyone-else-is-a-narcissist

Gold Standard Therapies

PTSD treatments generally fall into two broad categories: past-focused and present-focused (or their combination) [4]. Past-focused PTSD models ask clients to explore their trauma in detail to promote “working through” or processing of painful memories, emotions, beliefs and/or body sensations about the trauma. In contrast, present-focused PTSD models focus on psychoeducation and coping skills to improve current functioning in domains such as interpersonal, cognitive, and behavioral skills. Examples of past-focused models include Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Narrative Exposure Therapy. Examples of present-focused models include Cognitive Therapy for PTSD, Seeking Safety, and Stress Inoculation Training. Thus far, the preponderance of evidence indicates that both types (past- and present-focused) work, and neither consistently outperforms the other in terms of outcomes based on RCTs [3]. The majority of RCTs have focused on past-focused models, however, thus leading to the term “gold standard therapies” for models such as PE, CPT and EMDR (e.g. [5]).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4447050/

Effects of early life trauma

The number of children who experience neglect or abuse is high—about ten out of every thousand children in the United States in 2008.29 Identifying and helping these children is especially difficult unless there are bruises or physical injuries. The effects of early life attachment can lie dormant in the brain until later life. The impact of these hidden effects is that, by adolescence, eighty percent of abused children will be diagnosed with a major psychiatric disorder. Imaging studies of abuse survivors often show that brain areas controlling emotion and cognition are abnormal and underlie these psychiatric disorders and difficulties functioning as a productive citizen. Animal research has provided great insight into how early life caregiving can impact these brain areas and has highlighted unexpected functioning of the brain in early life and the enormous role of the caregiver in controlling the brain’s response to trauma. The comparison of normal attachment formation and pain-related attachment suggests similar behaviors in early life are expressed as attachment to the caregiver, and the activation of different neural substrates may lay the foundation for the enduring effects of early life trauma.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p<a href="http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>The number of children who experience neglect or abuse is high—about ten out of every thousand children in the United States in 2008.<sup><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774302/#R29">29</a></sup> Identifying and helping these children is especially difficult unless there are bruises or physical injuries. The effects of early life attachment can lie dormant in the brain until later life. The impact of these hidden effects is that, by adolescence, eighty percent of abused children will be diagnosed with a major psychiatric disorder. Imaging studies of abuse survivors often show that brain areas controlling emotion and cognition are abnormal and underlie these psychiatric disorders and difficulties functioning as a productive citizen. Animal research has provided great insight into how early life caregiving can impact these brain areas and has highlighted unexpected functioning of the brain in early life and the enormous role of the caregiver in controlling the brain’s response to trauma. The comparison of normal attachment formation and pain-related attachment suggests similar behaviors in early life are expressed as attachment to the caregiver, and the activation of different neural substrates may lay the foundation for the enduring effects of early life trauma.</p> <!– /wp:paragraph –> <!– wp:paragraph –> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774302/&quot; target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774302/</a></p&gt; mc/articles/PMC3774302/

Individual and Marital Therapy with Narcissists | Psychology Today

Although narcissism is difficult to treat, progress can be made over time. Even weekly sessions over a shorter term can yield benefits. Patients’ functioning and adaptation to reality can improve through gaining some control over their defenses and by working through past trauma (Masterson, 2004). They can learn to manage their anger, rage, and impulsivity. Although narcissists may feign empathy in order to get close or win others’ approval, subclinical narcissists (without full-blown NPD) have been taught empathy by using their imagination to put themselves in another’s shoes (Hepper, Hart, & Sedikides, 2014). Narcissists who are philanthropists or volunteers in the community for the public approbation to boost their self-esteem can learn to empathize and be less self-centered by helping others without personal gain.