Just saw the email from Tami Simons (Sounds True) on a last chance to hear Caroline Myss’s presentation that I wrote about earlier, ( https://content.soundstrue.com/understanding-narcissism-summit-encore?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=C191116-UNS-Sell4&utm_content=Myss,+Hanson,+and+Neff+-+Free+Encore+Presentations&_bta_tid=09528543415476418810300132756200661561082200615837475413618082489837536028413298474285896175960726012765&_bta_c=azpcfyz2d505smzjcvmh15bka8yxt), as well as two additional presenters, one of which I am reviewing here today.
This one is called “Healthy Confidence” by Rick Hanson, PhD. Initially I didn’t understand (or appreciate) why Rick’s focus was on looking for a healthy approach to milder aspects of narcissism. So today when I listened again, I did so with the consideration that for some reason Tami and Jeffery thought that out of the 20 presenters listed, not only Caroline was offered again (which I easily understood), but also offered again for some reason was Rick Hanson’s presentation which to me represented the counter argument for considering mild forms of narcissism as building blocks for establishing a sense of solid self-esteem.
Then I listened more closely to what Rick was actually stressing here and he sounded very “Dr. Joe Dispenza” to me—more about healing yourself by holding the higher love-frequency emotions and using positive reinforcement to establish new patterns of brain function. Then it made sense why he was offered as an encore. It was a positive presentation of helping others to help themselves in terms of self-worth. Here are a few quotes:
“It’s about narcissism vs. self-worth—helping people develop (constructive) concepts of true self-worth to help those (more destructive) narcissistic tendencies fall away. Narcissists have a hollowness inside—an emptiness that they keep trying to fill with external recognition and a fair amount of self-preoccupation. …”
He researched mother-toddler pairs and how those interactions created the solidity or lack-thereof in early childhood development. “ …dismissive or indifferent early-childhood care-givers often created the void felt by infants that later led to excessive self-focused behaviors…” It involved negative enforcement for undesirable infant behavior rather than a positive approach to desirable behaviors. … meaning, caregivers ignoring crying, disruptive behaviors, etc.
“It’s not abusive parental behavior, as it is simply a behavioral modification style that the parent believes is necessary and beneficial to the child and family in the long run, but which actually creates a feeling of unmet needs in the infant and child. … the child has yearnings for personal connection and love—to feel cared for and appreciated…these are normal human needs that are then met or unmet by the style of the caregiver. …
“Feelings of low worth and insecurity lead to self-preoccupation of feeling inadequate or insecure that push away the needs of other people in favor of fulfilling their own. Overt narcissism is an endless pulling of social supplies from other people to fill that hole in the heart. …
“How do we grow healthy self-confidence? …How do we heal that old pain of never being good enough or adequate enough? … (Hungry ghost stuff). …
“Self-directed neuro-plasticity ….any kind of lasting change psychologically must be through lasting change physically. We become less demanding of others…we can be in relationships without making it all about ourselves. … especially create changes in the nervous system and the brain that make lasting learning… neurons that fire together wire together… help the experience leave a lasting physical experience behind to provide a memory that fuels our desirable behavior change. …We become active agents of our own process of healing and transformation … Have the experience and enjoy it—really enjoy it—help those neurons form physical structures of brainwave patterns. Stay with a positive experience for a few breaths to help it solidify in your brain. … somatic experiences—body sensations help us retain the benefits of the experience. It is a rewarded feeling—we are being positively reinforced about our experience and it releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Those ‘feel good’ chemicals released into our bloodstream that helps us feel good about ourselves. …
“When we feel our worth, it represents something that we feel is true. We recognize it as a positive experience—we feel good about it. See it—feel it—internalize it. …
“Four major sources of self-worth (or self-confidence)—how you fill yourself up to feel good about yourself despite what others might think about you:
- The 1st is to feel ‘cared about or caring’, …authentic experiences of warm-heartedness or altruistic love.
- 2nd is recognizing your own good qualities—natural talents, disciplined, hard-worker, perseverer, etc.
- 3rd is experiencing and recognizing your true nature deep down—wakefulness, goodness, lovingness, Buddha-nature, childlike innocence, delight in existing, good wishes toward others, wishing to help others,
- 4th is forgiving yourself, …self-compassion, healing shame, letting go of criticism, pardoning yourself but taking accurate responsibility for your actions and then moving forward in positive ways toward a better way of being.” ….
Jeffery: “How does this process soften narcissistic tendencies?”
Rick: “I’ve seen when people do this simple receiving practice of filling themselves with love and positive experience, they feel ‘more full’ inside, it lessens their craving for unmet needs, and tames craving of needing the opinions and acceptance of others. They feel less a sense of deficit—of something missing because that person has then learned how to self-fulfill themselves with positive feelings of true self-worth. …”
Jeffery: “…so you don’t have to reduce narcissistic tendencies, you simply have to build a greater sense of true self-worth?”
Rick: “With therapeutic help and cultivating a larger shift in perspective, it helps to regulate the ‘need factor’ of how we tend to use others for fulfilling own sense of worth.”
Okay. That is my quick-take of Rick Hanson’s presentation and his professional opinions as a practicing psychologist and a therapist, and to some degree I assume his techniques may be successful with those who have milder narcissistic tendencies, but with those who are severely narcissistic and primarily self-focused, I just can’t imagine that this treatment is truly and lastingly effective. But again, that is just my opinion, and what do I know anyway. … 🙂
But I do agree with giving a child a healthy sense of self-worth, and in defining what the difference is between narcissism and actually creating a healthy sense of self-worth.
To that end I could more easily agree with Dr. Kristin Neff who was also offered on the page, on the ‘difference between self-esteem and self compassion’ and the importance of standing up for oneself against a malignant narcissist.