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Hi there! How has your week been going? Thanks for swinging by my website today.
For your benefit I have gathered a few videos on Narcissism. Why? Well, I believe that to be a strong Relationship Legacy Leader you need to have a firm awareness of what narcissism is and how to root out narcissistic tendencies in any environment you are in (family, work, religious institutions, politics, etc.) (1). It's also incredibly important to continue to be aware of our own narcissistic tendencies and to continually work on addressing those tendencies (we all have ways we can improve). Ignore narcissism at your own peril—because whether or not you are aware of it you have been or will be affected by it in some way.
I believe that one of the best ways to stand up to narcissism is to make sure that we have leaders in place with high levels of integrity and empathy. These leaders set a strong example through their actions, and actively make it their mission to reduce or remove narcissism in whatever system (or systems) they are in. For example, when a leader is doing job interviews, she actively ask questions to assess someone's level of narcissism, empathy, self-awareness, and accountability.
I want you to know that when I refer to "leaders" I am not referring to some abstract concept that has no application to you. You are probably a leader in some way. Are you a parent? You are a leader. Are you a manager? You are a leader. Are you in charge of a church group or some sort of class? You are a leader. Are you an older sibling or one of the older members of a family? You are a leader.
Additionally, when we follow someone's direction (or put our trust in any leader), we always need to ask ourselves if the person who is leading has everyone's best interests in mind... Or does she desire power solely for the sake of having power and control over people (and the perks of having power).
This next part may sound a bit strong, but here goes. I like to imagine narcissism in systems (like families and workplaces) as having an effect like a slow leak has on floor boards and wood. A slow leak steadily (and insidiously) begins to cause mold and damage. It may not even be apparent at first or even for a long time; especially if the leak is tucked away somewhere where you cannot see it initially.
I don't know if you've had any experiences with slow and hidden leaks, because I have! And boy it's not an experience I want to repeat again! At a previous house I lived in with my husband and daughter here in Springfield, there was a very slow leak below our furnace which resided in a closet.
Well, we had no idea about the leak for a couple reasons. One, we didn't go deep into the closet very often where the leak was happening. Two, by the time we noticed how bad things were, it was too late—we had a serious problem on our hands. This was definitely not a pleasant experience in any way. We eventually got everything cleaned up and fixed, but at immense time and cost to us. To add insult to injury, slow leaks are not covered by insurance (at least not by ours anyway), so we had to pay for all of the damages out of pocket.
Narcissism in any form is a slow and steady leak. It insidiously causes an immense amount damage to the system (any system). Initially it may not be apparent, but eventually there will be glaring signs and symptoms. For example, if a company is mainly led by those who espouse the end justifying the means, then regular company practices will be put in place that harm the public, the employees, or even the environment. Other signs that maybe something is not quite right is that there is a high employee turnover rate. You might notice that good people keep leaving the workplace, the political environment, the religious institution, or the family.
Sadly, once an individual has high narcissistic personality tendencies or even meets the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder, there is not much that can be done to help that person individually. This is because they feel okay hurting others, and they actually feel pretty justified in doing so. It goes into the bucket of things that cannot be controlled in life and what we need to accept.
Fortunately, there is a lot we can control and a lot we can do. Stepping into and accepting the role of a Relationship Legacy Leader and making little changes wherever you are, can make a huge difference in the culture of your family, of your workplace, your country, and even in politics. Also, setting a strong and healthy example for kids is so important to prevent narcissistic tendencies from developing in the first place. Preventing narcissism and the damage it causes is a huge reason to support any group or activity that promotes the physical and mental health of young people.
To review, a Relationship Legacy Leader is:
Someone who is committed to healthy relationships and emotional health for themselves, and also for the people around them. These progressive leaders deeply value thriving and resilient relationships, but are also keenly aware of the relational and emotional impact they have on other people: their partner or spouse, friends, relatives, co-workers, people in their community, kids, etc. These leaders know that in order to collaborate effectively, achieve the greatest growth, and to experience meaning and satisfaction out of life it takes growing our relationship and emotional skills. They intentionally seek out where they can make a difference, and make a conscious choice to do something positive. Whether the impact is on a few people or many, they know it all matters.
Without further ado, here are a few videos for you to peruse you awesome amazing Relationship Legacy Leader you.
Narcissism video resources
1. A TEDx talk by Dr. Ramani Durvasula (2):
2. Ten red flags indicating narcissism on the Surviving Narcissism YouTube channel (3):
3. Dr. Craig Malkin from Harvard medical school (4):
Questions to ask yourself after viewing these videos (either privately or start a discussion with someone else):
1. What did you learn from these videos?
2. Since we all have narcissism to some extent, what are the ways you personally express it?
3. Have there been environments where you could say the system was dominated by narcissistic values? If so, how could you tell?
4. Have there been environments where you could tell it was very healthy, and narcissism, bullying, and abuse was not tolerated? How did you know it was healthy? What specifically made that environment a thriving one?
5. What is one specific thing you can do this next week to actively make a difference as a Relationship Legacy Leader that reduces the narcissism in a system you are in?
Related to today's topic, if you have been hurt by someone with narcissism or hurt by a narcissistic system, you may want to review the blog article I wrote about uncovering your core values after being hurt in a narcissistic situation (5). This blog delves into what you can control in these situations, and how to figure out specific strategies for making the system healthier wherever you are using your values to guide you.
I am going to sum up today's blog by saying this... What you do matters. What you say matters. Having an open dialogue about how you can communicate better and treat each other better at work and at home matters. Taking a single step matters. What step will you take this week?
Thanks for being here with me today. If this post was helpful, please hit the Facebook Like button below or share the blog on Twitter or Facebook. Talk to you next week!
All the best,
Holly L. Harrison
PS Can I send you an email about once a week? The email will have a link to my latest blog post in case there is a topic you are interested in. As the business grows and I add more products and services, I will mention in the email what has been added.
References and Links
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Holly L. Harrison, MA, LMFT