A Bird's Eye View of THE ENCHANTED SELF and what it means to YOU!Written by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
The Rebbe Nachman of Breslow often said, “Always remember-Joy is not merely incidental to your spiritual quest. It is vital.” As years have gone by and I’ve been in practice of psychology over 20 years, I have become more and more convinced that he was so right, that joy is not an option. When we take away joy and we take away a sense of well-being, a sense that we are thriving, we allow ourselves or seem to find ourselves in circumstances that seem to drain, tire and weaken us. We are no longer whole human being that is our birthright! THE ENCHANTED SELF is a positive psychology approach to mental health that works both in treatment room and out. I teach people techniques they need to start to think in positive ways about themselves and their world. Thus I teach them how to see what is right about themselves, rather than what is wrong. I also teach them to appreciate their own life story, its ups and downs; roller coaster ride that we all go on. I teach how to value our potential even if in childhood we were put down or criticized, as so many of us are. I have belief and I teach belief that inside of each of us we know when we are on track and we know when we are living a wholesome life that fits with integrity of our particular spirit. I call this sense of well-being ”The Enchanted Self” and I teach people how to find their "Enchanted Selves" again and again-how to recognize and celebrate states of well-being that signify they are in touch with best of themselves. I stress positive benefit of recalling memories about one's life in a fashion that permits us to discover and rediscover our own talents and resources. I also emphasize how to find in our past kernals of pleasure, and reservoirs of strength, that we can come home to again and again, even if we need to reshape these facets of ourselves to suite new circumstances Basically, this learning involves listening to yourself, and reviewing your own past to see what worked for you, what really gave you pleasure. What aspects of yourself and your life can you identify as necessary to experience a state of well-being?. What do you need to feel whole? For example, if you loved to play piano as a child, then you may not really enjoy watching football games as an adult. You may much more enjoy listening to classical music. However, in order to live a full life, you may also enjoy football games because your son loves them or your husband loves them. Thus there is also an accommodation to someone you care about and a resulting interest develops. I think you can begin to see that what is going to work for each person is so unique to that individual! It involves a review of our history, and it involves analyzing circumstances currently in our lives. If we have a handicap we may not be able to become a ballerina. Even if we have severe arthritis, we may not be able to become a ballerina at forty. However, love of dance since childhood may easily be converted into wonderful yoga stretches that help arthritis and feel 'dancy'. So often, there is a creative turn in road, thinking out of box, that Enchanted Self person develops. You find you have become an ENCHANTED SELF when you havethe courage to put together using your mind, heart, body and spirit new inventive ways of bringing pleasure and meaning into your life. The steps I teach people are rigorous but they are no harder then all habits we learn that keep us in bad moods and keep us depressed. For example, if I teach someone how to review at end of day everything that has gone right in their day, that it is no harder than listing what went wrong. In fact it soon becomes easier than listing everything that went wrong. The reason it becomes easier is that you don’t build up some of rage and some of anger that one can build up when we review problems in our lives. Now we are encouraged rather than discouraged and even may end up sleeping better and feeling better leading to much less energy drain. I have found most effective way to teach people how to access their Enchanted Self, i.e. to find and hold onto feelings of joy, and a sense of well-being is to share Seven Gateways To Enchantment. It is a quick way to catch your Enchanted Self. So let’s explore Gateways and then try an enchanted assignment! The first Gateway is The Gateway of Knowing Yourself In Positive Ways. That means getting to know your own talents and rediscovering your lost potential. This is a fun gateway and it really builds your self-esteem. You can pursue this Gateway, even while driving you car! For example, you can go over your life history, reviewing your strengths and talents. Start back in childhood-look for your strengths and talents, even if they were disregarded by your family, and maybe even yourself. Now, you have maturity and wisdom to recognize these positive parts of yourself. Even play with looking for your lost dreams-what you thought you could do before someone or circumstances may have dashed those dreams! After you take some time with First Gateway, you are ready for Second Gateway. This is one where you begin to fall in love with yourself! At heart level you begin to feel your specialness. This may take time, not to worry. After all our society does not bring us up to recognize what is special and wonderful about ourselves! Some of us get closer to this sense of positive self-love by mentally hugging ourselves as child that we once were. Others practice by intentionally giving oneself a for real quick hug, even if no one else does, or looking in mirror and saying to oneself, "I am special and my strengths are unique and perfectly suited for what I want and need to do in life! Another step in successfully passing through Second Gateway is acknowledging that story of your life is a fascinating fabric of adventures, episodes, happenings, and even mis-haps that have come together to make a most unique person and that is YOU! Once you can begin to see that your triumphs are to be honored and celebrated and that your defeats have within them wisdom and learning that takes you later in life to new heights you are well along on road to Enchantment.
The Depressive NarcissistWritten by Sam Vaknin
Many scholars consider pathological narcissism to be a form of depressive illness. This is position of authoritative magazine "Psychology Today". The life of typical narcissist is, indeed, punctuated with recurrent bouts of dysphoria (ubiquitous sadness and hopelessness), anhedonia (loss of ability to feel pleasure), and clinical forms of depression (cyclothymic, dysthymic, or other). This picture is further obfuscated by frequent presence of mood disorders, such as Bipolar I (co-morbidity).
While distinction between reactive (exogenous) and endogenous depression is obsolete, it is still useful in context of narcissism. Narcissists react with depression not only to life crises but to fluctuations in Narcissistic Supply.
The narcissist's personality is disorganised and precariously balanced. He regulates his sense of self-worth by consuming Narcissistic Supply from others. Any threat to uninterrupted flow of said supply compromises his psychological integrity and his ability to function. It is perceived by narcissist as life threatening.
I. Loss Induced Dysphoria
This is narcissist's depressive reaction to loss of one or more Sources of Narcissistic Supply – or to disintegration of a Pathological Narcissistic Space (PN Space, his stalking or hunting grounds, social unit whose members lavish him with attention).
II. Deficiency Induced Dysphoria
Deep and acute depression which follows aforementioned losses of Supply Sources or a PN Space. Having mourned these losses, narcissist now grieves their inevitable outcome – absence or deficiency of Narcissistic Supply. Paradoxically, this dysphoria energises narcissist and moves him to find new Sources of Supply to replenish his dilapidated stock (thus initiating a Narcissistic Cycle).
III. Self-Worth Dysregulation Dysphoria
The narcissist reacts with depression to criticism or disagreement, especially from a trusted and long-term Source of Narcissistic Supply. He fears imminent loss of source and damage to his own, fragile, mental balance. The narcissist also resents his vulnerability and his extreme dependence on feedback from others. This type of depressive reaction is, therefore, a mutation of self-directed aggression.