I’ve always believed the arts is the second closest thing to spirituality, and for a person on the narcissism spectrum (I think I’m fairly low on it, fortunately), the arts are often where our true self peeks out of the void inside us and may even shyly venture out into the light of awareness for awhile.
A few weeks ago, I posted some videos of the music of a young man who believes he has NPD. I’m not sure if he does or not, but I think he is on the spectrum. He wants desperately to heal. His music makes me very emotional; singing and writing music is obviously cathartic for him. I believe these videos show this man’s TS shining through. He says in his everyday life, he is very shallow, grandiose and entitled acting. But his singing and songwriting is anything but shallow or grandiose. They come from a deep place, his soul (which is the true self) .
Good art that resonates and stirs genuine emotions (not just manipulative, throwaway “art” that’s become so pervasive in pop culture today) always comes from a person’s True Self. Many narcissists make great art and I think that’s when they’re able to access their TS.
So if you’re a narcissist wants to heal from your disorder, accessing the arts in some way, whether it’s creating something or just immersing yourself in music, art, film or books that make you feel your emotions, is a good way to get started.
For me, writing every day for almost a year brought me to the point where I could see my own narcissism and see what I needed to do to be rid of it. It was like suddenly a roadmap was given to me. The next phase is going to be harder but I think more rewarding too. But it was through an art form–writing–I finally came to this awareness.
Journaling is extremely powerful, as long as you are completely honest with yourself (and others, if you blog publicly). Even if you are embarrassed by your feelings/experiences, write them down anyway. There’s no shame in that. You’ll be surprised that other people won’t think it’s as shameful as you do. It feels wonderful to run emotionally “naked,” sometimes in public. I promise you will not regret it, no matter how hard it is to do the first few times.
Writing works for me, but obviously that isn’t for everyone. For you, it may be painting, sculpture, dancing, or singing. Even though I’m not a very talented singer, I love to sing, and find this activity extremely cathartic. I sing when I drive all the time.
If you don’t have an artistic talent, that’s okay. Immerse yourself in music that stirs your emotions, or watch a sad (or touching) movie that gives you practice feeling empathy. Even if it’s only empathy for a fictional character, that’s still something. Eventually these feelings can be transferred to real people, or yourself. Keep practicing. It will get easier.
I believe all narcissists have at least one thing that stirs their deepest emotions. It’s likely to be something related to the arts–a book, a movie, certain kinds of music, dance, poetry. Immerse yourself in whatever activates your feelings and allow yourself to experience the emotions these things elicit in you. Don’t judge them–just observe them with acceptance and love and let them pass through you. If you need to cry, go ahead. I’ve come to believe tears are the most effective and yet most gentle way to release the hurt and pain that led to our narcissism. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s your True Self that is feeling these things, for your False Self has no ability to feel anything except rage, shame and fear.
While your True Self is awake and accessible to you, give him or her the parenting they deserved but never received. Tell your TS you love them and are sorry you rejected them when you adopted your False Self in his or her place. He or she will listen and respond if you keep your mind and heart open and just accept without judgment whatever emotions you feel passing through you. Your TS just wants acceptance and love and for their feelings to be validated, so you need to do that, since the people who were supposed to never did.
Unless we are so high up the spectrum of narcissism that there’s no self-awareness and no willingness to change (I think there’s a point of no turning back and that’s when a narcissist becomes malignant), we are all sensitive, loving people with the capacity for empathy and joyful connection with others. It’s not too late if you are willing to do the work, which will sometimes be painful. I think there may even be some cases where a malignant can change, if they can ever become self aware.
There’s a video about the healing power of the arts that’s on the same page where I found the painting for this article. If you click on the link under the painting, you can watch it.