Is Writing to Friends About Yourself Narcissism?

Posted: November 20, 2018 in epistolary, Fiction, Musing, Musings, opinion, philosophy, relationships

Wise Friend,

I haven’t written in a while (besides the good wishes around holidays and anniversaries).

The summer is almost over, and the days are much shorter, and perhaps they beckon one towards writing.

I received yesterday your public journal (sic!) and comments about the state of your life. As usual, its literature is of good quality.

Perhaps I told you before I have the impression there is some narcissism here, though I look at it with full, full, full understanding. We all suffer more or less of this syndrome, including the author of these very lines.

In other words, being your own heroine/protagonist, I suspect writing about yourself (to friends!) you look at yourself excessively from outside.

Sensitive Friend,

Narcissism? Interesting.
Ironically, I’m always surprised when somebody likes me. Most probably you don’t know I experienced such surprises (I mean getting compliments) only after I left my family back home.

For some reasons, I grew up hearing a refrain repeated on any occasion. This tiny family enjoyed pointing out my defects only. Among others, “I was born looking like my father (big mistake!), I was ugly, I needed to hide my legs (not perfectly shaped), my chest was too small, my bottom too low, I don’t know how to behave, I’ve been prone to gaffes, I never had a sense of humour, and overall too few people would like me.”

Since then, it seems, I’ve been in a continuous process of validation and evaluation to what extent these labels have been real or not.
I’m the only one initiating visits to the family.

I view being in touch with my small family as significant, and the sound and happy qualities of this family overwhelm such nonsense.
During these many years, they uttered only two compliments, one by mistake, followed by an immediate retraction. The former was back in the country of origin, and the other one was in a letter. It must have been a mistake as well.
Admittedly, I’ve been fighting this image. However, perhaps, I developed an odd model of reference.

Yes, you’re correct I watch myself from the outside.
Initially, I started writing to a group of friends, who usually like my news. They call me frequently and ask me how various people, in this country, welcome me. Therefore, I use such language. Meanwhile, other people entered my life, asked me to include them in the email list, and I adjusted my writing.
My life is not only about successes. Many of the failures are related to my personality. I don’t write about them, not wishing to focus on them.
Somehow, it is little of me in these emails, in which there is already too much.

Wise Friend,

This time, you were 100% you: without public, without literature. How beautiful you write: “it is little of me in these emails, in which it is already too much.”
You have no difficulty in understanding me. I’m the one with a confused way of explaining, maybe precisely because I weigh my words too much (out of fear!). Sometimes, I play with words, though not today.
You’ve told me at other times about your “inferiority complexes”. Those descriptions might be correct, though even you notice how foolish it was to become their slave.
You are the way you are. Features you describe them as “defects”, and which you list with the disregard they deserve, lack any significance to be even considered seriously. Let’s be serious! Your value and quality are not defined by what you see, but by what those receptive to you detect.

Sensitive Friend,

It would shock you that I believe I can be 100% myself when I acknowledge good and even beautiful features of mine, and it’s healthy that I see them, without narcissism. I don’t let such things go to my head, though.

Others, including you, would feel uncomfortable with me or anybody else doing that. Bringing up “inferiority complexes” and self-doubts seems to be perceived as authenticity, relaxes them. It‘s a dance people crave.

Yes, I’m my “own heroine/protagonist” in emails about myself. To what extent shall I limit that?


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