It isn’t all about me.

paranoia

What I’m learning is that everything isn’t always about me.

I used to always assume people were obsessing in a negative way about me and would interpret, say, a neutral expression or a lukewarm greeting as “that person must be upset with me/hate me/is mad at me/disapproves of me” etc. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort not to let my mind go in this direction if someone acts in a way other than thrilled to see me. Sometimes they’re just having a bad day, are angry at someone else, or angry in general, or are generally just an asshole to everyone. Sometimes it’s nothing at all other than my choosing to perceive a neutral expression or body language as something negative. It takes a lot of practice to get out of that habit of paranoia and hypervigilance and I always have to remind myself to stop taking every little thing personally and think outside myself instead. I think this is a prerequisite to being able to empathize–being mindful that someone else might have a problem that has nothing to do with me.

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4 thoughts on “It isn’t all about me.

  1. My ex also obsessed about others and he blamed it on his “Asperger’s” because he said he is always wrong about them when he reads them. I just thought why doesn’t he just stop assuming since he knows he is always wrong. Of course this is also a social anxiety thing. People with it also feel they are being judged and watched by others. I can remember when he would accuse me of being mad at him and I would tell him I was not and explain I am just tired but he would still insist I was mad at him after I had told him. Talk about paranoia. One of the things that really gets to me is people not listening. Another time I tired to show him a trick with the water at a drinking fountain by making it squirt out and instead I had accidentally gotten him in the face and he said I did it on purpose and after I had explained my intention to him and after I had apologized and also when we were in a hotel room, I was on his computer and looking at defunct amusement parks and I go to a page but i didn’t know it would play music so the music blared from it and I try to find a way to turn it down. He said I did it on purpose so i explained to him it was an accident and how it was one of those websites that plays automatic music and he still said I did it on purpose. After this relationship i had decided if your partner can’t even trust you, then the relationship is bad of they think your actions are intentional and done with intent and with an agenda.

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    1. He sounds like a real winner. 🙄
      I agree social anxiety and a lifetime of having been teased and humiliated can cause someone to become paranoid and hypervigilant. That often happens to people with Aspergers (which I used to think I had).

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      1. But my question is how do we tell the difference? How do we know if it’s narcissism or just PTSD due to being bullied and teased (that is how some become narcissist themselves) or if it’s the social anxiety or autism?

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  2. It’s hard to tell the difference. Even the experts can’t always tell the difference. Covert or “fragile” narcissism can look very much like Aspergers, Borderline, or Avoidant PD. I think the difference is whether or not underlying the social awkwardness, aloofness, envy and shame if there is an underlying sense of grandiosity or entitlement. For example, a person who shies away from and rejects others but secretly feels envious or entitled to have what those other people do, or separates themselves because they feel “superior” in some way. But no one can really tell except the person themselves and even then they might not be self aware enough to see it. Maybe covert narcissism really is the same thing as Avoidant PD + BPD, both which it resembles, but because it’s not an official diagnosis the person will not be diagnosed with covert NPD. The labels are very confusing. As for Aspergers, I’ve known several Aspies who are also quite narcissistic and use their Aspieness to feel superior to “normals.” Is this narcissism? Sam Vaknin thinks so–I don’t agree but he says Aspergers is really a form of narcissism (or vice versa). Sometimes I think the labels are very arbitrary and more of an art form than a science. Maybe we just need to do away with all the labels and treat everyone for complex PTSD instead.

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