Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away, there lived a narcissist we’ll call Speedy. You’ve met Speedy before. He lived a fairly colorful life spiced with drama, anger and conflict caused chiefly by his own narcissism.
The young tend to be idealistic and Young Speedy was idealistic on steroids. He came of age back in the 1970’s and 80s when the so-called “Moral Majority” was being manipulated by the disguised establishment folks to catapult them into political power. And Speedy was at the heart of all that was movin’ and all that was shakin’. With his new I-saw-a-vision religion giving him a superiority he had heretofore lacked, he campaigned, organized, picketed and evangelized with a will. From his elevated position on the Moral High Ground, he was untiring in his drive to convert all and sundry to his way of thinking. Even his little daughter was the most idealistic, perfectionistic, know-it-all, bossy tattletale in her 1st Grade Class!
Now, on this particular day, Speedy was taking a nice, relaxing bike ride. Well, actually, he was probably riding hell-bent-for-leather halfway in the car lane, pretending to be a automobile like he usually did. Biking at high speed gave him a sense of power second only to the high he felt when he was directing traffic. Speedy loved directing traffic!
A car passed him by and casually tossed a disposable soda (pop) cup out the window. Were they throwing it at Speedy or just getting rid of it? Whatever the case, Speedy saw red. Rage ignited. They had littered! Littering was wrong. It was up to Speedy to show them the error of their ways.
Now, I’m not saying littering is okay, because it’s not. It’s morally wrong and a misdemeanor in my state. What I am saying is that what Speedy did next was also wrong, way-outta-line, batcrap crazy and downright dangerous!
Speedy rode up to the cup, jumped off his bike and grabbed it out of the gutter. Then, standing up on the pedals, he raced to catch up with the offending car. Closer and closer he came. The car was stopped at a stoplight. Skidding to a stop, Speedy flung the cup back into the car through the open window. Red-faced with rage, neck veins bulging he screamed, “LITTERBUG!” at the occupants at the top of his lungs. Imagine the shock on the driver’s face when his cup flew back in the window! Imagine the shock on his passenger’s faces at this madman’s scream!
This was one of Speedy’s favorite stories to tell over a huge bowl of hot, buttered popcorn. How he laughed as he recounted the tale! Perhaps he also shook his head too. But Speedy’s “Campaign Against Litter” does not end there. No indeedy!
On another occasion, Speedy was driving along a verdant country road when he noticed white garbage bags at regular intervals on the side of the road. Litter! Speedy’s blood began to boil at the slob who had dropped their garbage bags on the shoulder. Speedy grew angrier and angrier as mile after mile of wooded road was marred by garbage bags.
Cresting a hill, Speedy’s eyes widened. There, on each side of the road, were crews of Good Samaritans clad in reflective vests and gloves, carefully picking up litter, filling white garbage bags. He could laugh about it later. But at the moment, he must’ve felt awfully foolish.
And, despite his littering pet peeve, to my knowledge he never cleaned up a road himself. This must’ve been one of the only times when he didn’t “set the example.”
Why did I tell you those stories? Because narcissism isn’t just a list of traits beginning with “inflated ego” and ending with “lack of empathy.” The lists are helpful, but only to a point. The trick to identifying narcissism is to recognize and translate those traits into the context of complicated human life. In my own recovery from narcissistic grooming and abuse, it’s been real-life stories that helped the most. That’s why I share real-life stories about narcissists so you, dear reader, can say, “Wow! My narcissist did that too. Have you been living in my house!?” That’s what makes writing about narcissism so rewarding!
Now, I wish I could tell you that Speedy lived happily ever after, but alas, narcissists are rarely happy. There’s always something percolating, something “going on” with them. Y’know what I mean? They’re always silently (or very vocally) cogitating on things that make them mad. So, in a way, I suppose Speedy did live happily ever after because he was often on the low boil and seemed to kinda’ enjoy it.