Sunday, March 28, 2010
Take a moment to look at us today like you never have before.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?NPD is a type of psychological personality disorder characterized primarily by grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy. Narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity, but the pathologically narcissistic tend to be extremely self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ perspectives, insensitive to others’ needs and indifferent to the effect of their own egocentric behavior.
It is not uncommon for persons with this disorder to frequently compare themselves to the accomplished, well-known and well-to-do. They feel entitled to great praise, attention, and deferential treatment by others.
Those with NPD crave the limelight and are quick to abandon situations in which they are not the center of attention. Defects of empathy may cause narcissists to misperceive other people's speech and actions, causing them to believe that they are well-liked and respected despite a history of negative personal interactions.
Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are often ambitious and capable, but are unable to cope with setbacks, disagreements or criticism. These emotional limitations, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work well with others and to build a successful career (Kernberg 2003, 2004, APA 2000).
Diagnosis of Narcissistic PDConsiderable overlap between the characteristics of different personality disorders makes diagnosis of NPD a challenge. Grandiosity, lack of empathy and exploitative interpersonal relations are not unique to NPD, nor is the need to be seen as special or unique. The differential diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is typically made based on the absence of certain behaviors. Borderline Personality Disorder has several conspicuous similarities, but unlike NPD, is characterized by self-injury, whereas narcissists are rarely physically self-injurious. The need for constant attention is also found in Histrionic Personality Disorder, but HPD and BPD are both relationship oriented, whereas NPD is characterized by the avoidance of intimacy. Psychopathy, or Antisocial Personality Disorder is differentiated from NPD by the psychopaths' willingness to use physical violence whereas narcissists rarely commit crimes Kernberg 2003, Vaknin 2007).
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), a patient must exhibit five or more of the following traits in order to be diagnosed with NPD:
Saturday, March 20, 2010
So here on the first day of Spring in 2010, I get to size myself up and ask if it has been worth it so far....after all I have no children, the mark in an Italian family of value and worth as a woman. I forfeited that reality for both emotional and physical reasons and because as they say "it was not in the cards". Actually looking back now the choices I made were all pretty much made when I was about 8 years old.
The blog below this one pretty much explains it all: I rejected 100% the path my mother had laid out for me. At least the surface path. Because I think underneath that surface path, the roles decent women should take, which in her opinion were clear in the 1950's and 1960's, she watched and waited and, dare I say, hoped for my rebellion. I think I was her under the surface path where she had so long wanted to walk but could not because of fear and the oppressive nature of being a woman back then and of course, my father, the eternal chauvinist.
I never received much encouragement to be who I wanted to be. I risked the ire and rejection of my mother and my older sister if I did and yet here I am today: a filmmaker, an actor, a writer, a college professor, owner of a beautiful home, with great and remarkable friends, foster mother to children in Bolivia and Cambodia, and embarking on what is most likely my most intimate and longest relationship to date with a man I have known for 25 years.....all signs of health and growth and commitment.
I wonder about the other women in my family from later generations, nieces most especially. I have 4 nieces, 3 of them who ended up having children and one who seems lonely and a little lost although she still has time to find herself. I wonder how strong their mother's voices were in their heads and if they had the courage to stand up to that figure and speak the truth: To say with deep conviction: I am not you, mother. I am independent of you, both emotionally, financially, spiritually and every other way and this is my life, not yours. Of course, maybe you do not need to say that unless she refuses to let you go. Then I suppose a dramatic scene is called for if only to act as a breaking off climactic moment. But doing it in your own mind and heart is pretty much the only way you ever do claim your own life and "grow up", isn't it?
It is the first day of spring. I am truly blessed to have this life, to own this life I have created out of dreams and whispers. It's also the first day of the rest of YOUR lives, nieces. As an act of faith in yourselves, you might choose one thing you are afraid to do...write that children's story, draw that picture, make that movie, dance that dance...you only have so many springs and yours are winding down...so get to it...don't waste another moment...find the time, make the time. Reclaim yourselves.
When mom is gone either metaphorically or for real, make sure you are able to locate that under the surface path because, truthfully, it's the one she really wants you to walk anyway, despite her fears and protests. Trust me, I know.
Today is the first day.......
So here is my Day One...very revealing....you ought to try it
I learned I was funny
(Out of control at times) I choose this
Very very brave
Flying down Blueberry Hill a hundred miles an hour on my winged steed, a red Schwinn footbrake bike like mad dogs were nipping at my feet. Hollering to my friends Joey and Jason ten feet behind me that they were girls and realizing I was a girl and not a boy. Feeling the loss of that as they laughed at me and said, "Who you calling girls, girl?" And wanting to be a boy, wanting very much the physical limitations lifted so I could fly over the hill and into a world of endless possibilities in which no one could say, "No you can not be that, do that, want that, know that because you are the wrong sex." Coming home sweaty, knees bleeding, exhilarated and proud that I beat my buddies once again on my mad quest for adventure in mundane places and seeing my mother standing, arms crossed at the front door, looking disappointed in me because I was not frilly and clean and unblemished. Hearing her ask me for the hundredth time, "Why are you so out of control?" And shutting down my listening as I rushed past her shouts and into the kitchen where I would stand in front of the fridge looking for fudgsicles to feed my lust for ice cold chocolate which was the only thing that could or would soothe me from her looks of disgust and disdain and her realization I was never going to be like her other daughter, the princess, the cheerleader, the winner and stuffing my feelings along with the fudgsicles and my own disappointment in myself down my throat, worrying I was not good enough to be as good as I actually was in math and other male subjects and realizing I might end up like all the women in my family with kids or worse: without themselves.
Friday, March 19, 2010
The Broken Society
The United States is becoming a broken society. The public has contempt for the political class. Public debt is piling up at an astonishing and unrelenting pace. Middle-class wages have lagged. Unemployment will remain high. It will take years to fully recover from the financial crisis.
This confluence of crises has produced a surge in vehement libertarianism. People are disgusted with Washington. The Tea Party movement rallies against big government, big business and the ruling class in general. Even beyond their ranks, there is a corrosive cynicism about public action.
But there is another way to respond to these problems that is more communitarian and less libertarian. This alternative has been explored most fully by the British writer Phillip Blond.
He grew up in working-class Liverpool. “I lived in the city when it was being eviscerated,” he told The London.. “It was a beautiful city, one of the few in Britain to have a genuinely indigenous culture. And that whole way of life was destroyed.” Industry died. was centralized in
Blond argues that over the past generation we have witnessed two revolutions, both of which liberated the individual and decimated local associations. First, there was a revolution from the left: a cultural revolution that displaced traditional manners and mores; a legal revolution that emphasized individual rights instead of responsibilities; a welfare revolution in which social workers displaced mutual aid societies and self-organized associations.
Then there was the market revolution from the right. In the age of deregulation, giant chains like Wal-Mart decimated local shop owners. Global financial markets took over small banks, so that the local knowledge of a town banker was replaced by a manic herd of traders thousands of miles away. Unions withered.
The two revolutions talked the language of individual freedom, but they perversely ended up creating greater centralization. They created an atomized, segmented society and then the state had to come in and attempt to repair the damage.
The free-market revolution didn’t create the pluralistic decentralized economy. It created a centralized financial monoculture, which requires a gigantic government to audit its activities. The effort to liberate individuals from repressive social constraints didn’t produce a flowering of freedom; it weakened families, increased out-of-wedlock births and turned neighbors into strangers. In Britain, you get a country with rising crime, and, as a result, four million security cameras.
In a much-discussed essay in Prospect magazine in February 2009, Blond wrote, “Look at the society we have become: We are a bi-polar nation, a bureaucratic, centralised state that presides dysfunctionally over an increasingly fragmented, disempowered and isolated citizenry.” In a separate essay, he added, “The welfare state and the market state are now two defunct and mutually supporting failures.”
The task today, he argued in a recent speech, is to revive the sector that the two revolutions have mutually decimated: “The project of radical transformative conservatism is nothing less than the restoration and creation of human association, and the elevation of society and the people who form it to their proper central and sovereign station.”
Economically, Blond lays out three big areas of reform: remoralize the market, relocalize the economy and recapitalize the poor. This would mean passing zoning legislation to give small shopkeepers a shot against the retail giants, reducing barriers to entry for new businesses, revitalizing local banks, encouraging employee share ownership, setting up local capital funds so community associations could invest in local enterprises, rewarding savings, cutting regulations that socialize risk and privatize profit, and reducing the subsidies that flow from big government and big business.
To create a civil state, Blond would reduce the power of senior government officials and widen the discretion of front-line civil servants, the people actually working in neighborhoods. He would decentralize power, giving more budget authority to the smallest units of government. He would funnel more services through charities. He would increase investments in infrastructure, so that more places could be vibrant economic hubs. He would rebuild the “village college” so that universities would be more intertwined with the towns around them.
Essentially, Blond would take a political culture that has been oriented around individual choice and replace it with one oriented around relationships and associations. His ideas have made a big splash in Britain over the past year. His think tank, ResPublica, is influential with the Georgetown’s Tocqueville Forum Friday and at Villanova on Monday.. His book, “Red Tory,” is coming out soon. He’s on a small U.S. speaking tour, appearing at
Britain is always going to be more hospitable to communitarian politics than the more libertarian U.S. But people are social creatures here, too. American society has been atomized by the twin revolutions here, too. This country, too, needs a fresh political wind. America, too, is suffering a devastating crisis of authority. The only way to restore trust is from the local community on up.