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Erma Bombeck and the Cure to the Narcissism Epidemic


When I found my first Erma Bombeck book at the Little Free Library in my tiny hometown, my reaction was “Where has this wonderful woman been all my life”? And my second reaction was, “I guess we are all the same after all!” Like her, I can never find a pen, a rubberband or a piece of tape when I need it. They’re never where they should be and once you unload the drawer to find them, the moment has passed and you don’t need them anymore! Plus I can never find matching socks (so I’ve given up on wearing socks entirely) and several pieces of jewelry have mysteriously disappeared.

But what if Erma Bombeck isn’t just a funny writer, a comedienne of the pen. What if Erma is the antidote to narcissism? What if we all need to be more like Erma Bombeck and less like the Kardashians? What if Mrs. Bombeck is the cure we’ve long been looking for?

9 Comments to
Erma Bombeck and the Cure to the Narcissism Epidemic

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  1. Well said, Lenora. Humility is seriously missing in 21st Century American life. “Pride goeth before the fall,” or something like that.

    Keep laughing. I miss Letterman. And Erma.

    Happy New Year!

  2. One of your best, Lenora. You have summed up well what is needed as the antidote to narcissism and its effects on survivors — becoming a human, no more, no less. No perfectionism as we strive to hit a target that keeps moving. No fear of where we fall short, but the ability to laugh at our inevitable splats in the company of others who have splatted, too, knowing it is not only okay but NORMAL to splat.

    (Have you read Bombeck’s piece on the Give ‘Em Hell speech before family vacations? Hilarious!)

    I have to wonder if the church I spent years in (and recovering from) would have thought so highly of Lewis had they known his likes and dislikes! Frankly, I wish I could slide into a seat at the pub and have a chat with him! I’d be happy to stand him a pint. Maybe in heaven’s pub. 😉

    • I’ll meet you there! He and the other Inklings used to hang out at a pub called “The Eagle and Child” aka “The Bird and Baby.” 😀

  3. Any narcissist I’ve known almost becomes enraged whenever you make fun of yourself in front of them. I don’t know if it’s because by making fun of yourself it takes away their power of hurting you when they criticize you, or because it shows you are strong, or because they have no humility, they are envious of you.

    • I agree with you Luna! It definitely takes away their power. Laughter is certainly the best medicine!

  4. My mother. the narcissist, loved Irma Bombeck. Because Irma Bombeck asked for humility. Any narcissist loves it when a socially prominent person asks us to be humble. Less competition for the narcissist.

    The way to deal with a narcissist is to starve them of what they want most, control and attention. Writing about them in a “fair and balanced” way is the opposite of control. We are not fighting a epidemic of narcissism and entitlement today but the results and demise of an unfortunate narcissistic generation, my fellow baby-boomers, through old-age.

    She was a good woman. But good doesn’t win wars. Leave them. Ignore them. Start your life anew.

  5. Lenora, you are brilliant!! C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters is beyond genius–it’s a supernatural masterpiece that I will be sure to revisit after reading your article! I am SO thankful that you are sharing your revelations about your experience with narcissism because it is truly bewildering to try and wrap ones mind around a personality so utterly damaging!

    Do you happen to know of the Andy Serkis recorded version of “Screwtape?” I haven’t had the opportunity, but I’m sure it’s wonderful!

    • WOW!!! Smeagol as Screwtape!?! That is BRILLIANT. Now I gotta find that recording.

      My other favorite recording is C. S. Lewis himself reading The Four Loves in his deep, stentorian voice. My public library very nearly never got that recording back! I wanted so badly to steal it – I actually wept when I had to return it to the library. See if you can find that recording!

      • That makes PERFECT sense. Smeagol/Gollum always reminds me of my mother when I watch LOTR. Creeps me out, but also teaches much about dealing with narcissists.

        Then there’s that teacher in one of the Harry Potter stories, that crazy smiling pink sweatered demon who loved to make them write lines in their own flesh and had about five hundred pictures of Cats She Had Loved on her office walls. She freaked me out, too! I left the theatre with a twitch, starting at sudden noises, and clutching my husband’s arm! YIKES!!!

 

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