Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How to recognize signs that someone is a narcissist

Dating a Narcissist is not fun. They make you feel important in the beginning, but end up being an emotional vampire in the end who is full of drama, temper tantrums and takes advantage of you. You might not even know you've dated a narcissist. Although there certainly is a range and spectrum of narcissism, clinical Narcissistic Personality Disorder affects 1% of the population. According to a study by Twenge and Campbell in 2009, the rate of NPD his more than doubled in ten years. There are ways to recognize signs that someone is a narcissist.

According to the Mayoclinic.com, these are traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
  • Believing that you're better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you're special and acting accordingly
  • Failing to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional
A person with NPD exhibits unrealistic self-confidence while expecting others to agree with or bend to his or her expectations and schedule, often bursting into a temper if they don’t get their way.

So what does this look like in real life?
Real examples of phrases that demonstrate narcissistic tendencies can be easily found in Portland Craigslist personal ads. Here are examples of phrases that serve as red flags for narcissistic traits (whether these men are narcissists is unknown, but they advertise themselves in what isn’t their best light):

“In a city this size there must be one woman who has a soul coupled with an interest in getting to know me.”

"Hot SWM Looking for Hot date"

"Handsome business exec looking for you to show me a good time"

Notice how these ads brag about qualities and/or expect someone to entertain them or be good enough for them? These are people to avoid. I wanted to list some ads that women posted but after skimming a hundred of them, I couldn't find any. Not that I think women can't be narcissists, but maybe women don't present themselves that way in writing. If anyone has examples of female narcissistic headers in personal ads, feel free to post them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Manifesting Your Mojo

Over the last few years there has been hype centered around the book, The Secret. Everyone is “manifesting” what they want through a combination of psychology (a.k.a. positive thinking), supposed quantum physics (the law of attraction and aligning yourself with what you want to bring into your life), and spirituality (asking for the universe to help you).

     Here are the basic components of asking and receiving what you want:
  1. Decide what you want. (Actually, this is way harder than it sounds.)
  2. Align yourself with what you want. (If you want to be rich, live like you are rich, if you want to attract a cheerful, funny mate behave that way yourself.)
  3. Visualize what you want. (See yourself driving a Mercedes or I suppose, for some, fantasize about sleeping with a really hot girl named Mercedes.)
  4. Go after what you want. (Okay, this one I added from my own personal experiences. But I’m not New-Agey enough to think that by never leaving your house and only daydreaming about what you want, can you really get it. believe in being proactive.)
  5. Be thankful.

So here is a little anecdote from my own love life (or lack of) to demonstrate.
Once upon a time, I lived in Japan. A few months after I arrived, I decided that I wanted to have a Japanese boyfriend. After all, I was in Japan. I did want to be multicultural and internationalize and all that jazz. As soon as this international mindset swept over me, I was asked on three dates in one week, all by men from different cultures. The weird thing is, I really didn’t do anything to cause any of these dates other than go to the same public places I always went to. One man was Indian who I met in a dance class, another was a bartender from Mexico who I sometimes spoke with (okay, flirted with), and the other was a Japanese man who went to the same dance studio where I took classes. Even though I’d known them all for months, they all asked me on a date the same week. It was quite thrilling. So I went on three dates that week, decided I was completely overwhelmed and didn’t want to date three men at the same time. (Three is a bit much!) Then they all vanished within two weeks, which was fortunate because I knew none of them were really right for me.

So one could say I followed the 5 step program above, asked and received, but realized that wasn’t what I wanted. I had to start over. This time I tried to visual one man and I decided he should be Japanese because if I had a Japanese boyfriend it would motivate me to want to learn Japanese, help me be a cultural ambassador, etc.. I then visualized my really hot break dance teacher. Well, I kept trying to visualize, but I didn’t do a very good job because negative thoughts would invade my head like: Why would he like me?— I’m his student. Why would he like me?— I’m his worst student. Why would he like me?— I don’t wear designer sweats and heavy make up in his dance classes like those tiny, waif-like Japanese girls. Etc.
One day (whether or not it was related to positive thinking or not is difficult to prove), I thought, “I want Mr. Hot Dance Teacher to invite me into his staffroom to talk with him and give me a present.” The present I was imagining in my mind was, naturally, a kiss. Two days later, he did invite me to sit down and talk with him in the staffroom and he did give me a present. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a kiss. It was incense. Still kind of nice.
But I continued to go back and forth thinking: Does he like me? No, he doesn’t. Maybe I don’t want a boyfriend who can’t speak English. Yes, I do, I want my hot dance teacher. Yeah, but why would he want me?

Could it be that the reason my hot dance teacher was hot and cold in his display of feelings, one day adjusting my posture in a very hands-on, intimate way and then the next day practically ignoring me, because I subconsciously exuded these hot cold thoughts of yes, no, yes, no? Not surprisingly, he found a cute, Japanese girlfriend who is a good dancer and wears designer sweats and lots of makeup. My internal monologue came true to my despair. (Fortunately, his girlfriend was really nice to me and I liked her very much.)

Next, I focused all my fantasizing on my pretend boyfriend, Captain Jack Sparrow. Really, I don’t want Jack as a boyfriend, I just tell everyone at work that I do. Then again, Johnny Depp is pretty hot, so maybe I wouldn’t mind having him as a boyfriend. And there are no self-conscious or negative thoughts that get in the way of my adoration for Jack (like there was for Mr. Hot Dance Teacher) because, Jack isn’t real. So everyday when I taught English to my students, I would randomly throw in, “Who is my boyfriend?” or “What time did I go on a date with Jack Sparrows last night?” The best game was the Pictionary game that for the final round and 100 pt. bonus question they had to draw the sentence, “Captain Jack Sparrows love Chastity.” I was pleased, though not really amazed after a year of prepping them, that they actually were able to guess the sentence after two minutes.

With all this positive visualization, is it really so shocking I did eventually meet the man who fit Jack Sparrow's description? I was in a little bakery outside the Kotoni station in Sapporo when this gorgeous,  man walked in. And I swear to god, he looked like Captain Jack Sparrows. He was a foreigner like me with a goatee and the long dark hair, though not quite as long or dread-lockish as Jack’s, but still quite nice. He wore a bandana and slightly odd, mismatched clothes. His eyes were dark, framed by such thick lashes I at first thought he wore black eyeliner. Not only was I drooling, but completely in shock. Here was my pirate.
I made eye contact and smiled at him. Unfortunately, I was so shocked and unprepared for the actual event of seeing the man I had been fantasizing about, I couldn’t think of anything to say. I tried to gather up the courage to make small talk or ask him if he could read one of the signs in kanji as a rouse to talk to him, but alas, the English language completely failed me. Then he escaped before I could buy my break items and was gone.

So for two entire weeks, I thought of all the things I could say to him, and fantasized even more about pirates. Then in the Odori Subway Station, after I had just finished teaching my volunteer belly dance class, and was dressed in long black and white striped pants and a pirate belly dance costume with a modest cover-up shirt when I had the silly thought: I was dressed like a pirate and like attracts like, so it would be only fitting if I bumped into the good-looking Jack Sparrows look-alike. It was just a random, goofy thought in my head.

How incredible, and slightly humiliating (I was dressed like a pirate!) that I should randomly see him in the subway minutes later. I was so shocked, even more so than the first time, and just smiled and walked past him. Then I decided, no, I must go talk to him. So I sucked up the courage and went over and said hi. Then, of course, when I spoke I sounded like an idiot. I think I said something like, “You look like a pirate. I like pirates.”

He looked over my unusual attire and said in a sexy French accent, “Oh, really? I wouldn’t have guessed,” or something along those lines.

This is a good example of four of the steps from The Secret
I declared what I wanted: Jack Sparrow. 
I aligned myself by acting like he already was my boyfriend in my fantasies and when I spoke about him and I dressed like a pirate. 
I visualized what I wanted. I didn’t even have to do anything. It just happened. 
Then I was proactive and actually spoke with him.
Of course, that way way back in Japan. I'm really more into Mr. Darcy these days. . . . At least, someone is like Mr. Darcy in his conduct.
Here's me being proactive here. . . if anyone happens to know any gentlemen that look like pirates, preferably the Captain Jack Sparrows kind (not the have-no-teeth-and-a-peg-leg-kind) who behave in a most gentlemanly manner like Mr. Darcy, feel free to steer him my way.

What gentleman or gentle lady are you going to manifest with your fantasies, the books you read and the attire you wear?