Tag Archives: Personality

Compensatory Narcissism

A few weeks ago, I was reading Believarexic by J.J. Johnson. Yes, I know I reviewed it already. I didn’t talk about one of the themes in it though, which is competitiveness, perfectionism, narcissism and how these are interrelated. As I just came across a journaling prompt on comparing yourself, I wanted to discuss this now.

I am not a perfectionist. At least, not a successful one. I make a lot of careless mistakes. I also used to send out cards and crafts for swaps that were mediocre at best and worse than a five-year-old could’ve done them at worst. In other words, I am not one to go to great lengths in order to achieve perfection. Of course, my disordered eating is also an example of this. If I attempt to keep control at all, I fail miserably at it. A psychologist who evaluated me when I was eleven, wrote in her report that I lacked self-criticism, in fact.

That being said, I do recognize what Dr. Prakash told Jennifer in the book about being on the head of a pin. If you’re on the head of a pin, you see yourself as great, expect yourself to be great, but once you fail, you hate yourself. I do expect myself to excel or I give up. In this sense, I’ve fallen off my own (and others’) head of a pin so many times that I may look like I don’t care about it anymore. But I do.

I may not show it, but deep down, I’m very sensitive to criticism. Like, I like to think of my English as great, but I definitely know that my pronunciation is an exception to this (and my written English isn’t excelletn either) My husband sometimes jokes, asking “What language is that?” when I speak English. His spoken English isn’t perfect – I’ve never seen his written English -, but it’s better than mine, so I don’t correct him or laugh about it. That being said, knowing that my spoken English is pretty bad, I hardly ever try to use it, so I don’t improve on it. I’d rather stay on my head of a pin and get people I meet online to compliment me on my (written) English.

In some areas, I am competitive and know that I will never win. Like with blogging. I am an okay’ish blogger, but I’ll never be a great blogger, no matter how hard I try. I feel deep down that this is a major weakness of mine, but I blame it on external factors (here comes the lack of self-criticism), or at least uncontrolable ones. For example, I tend to reason that I could be a great blogger if I could use images, which I can’t because I’m blind.

I once read about this type of narcissism called compensatory narcissism. It isn’t an official mental health diagnosis, of course. However, it shows that people with narcissistic traits commonly have low self-esteem. That’s what Dr. Prakash told Jennifer in Believarexic too: that loving yourself too much and hating yourself are sometimes pretty close. Like I said, compensatory narcissism isn’t a formal diagnosis, so I can safely say I fit a lot of the proposed criteria without looking like a hypochondriac, can’t I?

Mummascribbles

Blue

Blue is another favorite color of mine besides green, which I discussed on sunday. Blue, in my experience, can signify many things. It is thought of as a cool color and we often say we feel “blue” when we feel sad. However, the skies are usually a bright color of blue in summertime, too.

If I have to select a color that signifies my personality, it’d be blue. My Myers-Briggs personality type is INTJ bordering on INFJ. The letter T in my synetsthetic experience is a dark shade of blue. What distinguishes INTJs from the INFJ personality type is INTJs’ cooler personality. Again, blue is thought of as a cool color.

Interestingly, when I was in college, I had this competency management book that described various personality types. I just looked it up and saw that introverted thinkers are described as the “blue” type.

People exhibiting the “blue” behavior pattern (or conformity) in work-related situations, according to the book, have perfectionism as their basic emotional state. They have high discipline, are detail-oriented, good observers and painfully conscientious. They need solid, fact-based arguments before they swallow an opinion. They are also obsessed with rules and regulations. They don’t do well with emotions and definitely don’t show them.

I do not currently score high on any of the behavior patterns described in the book, mostly because I cannot hold down a job so don’t have any work-related competencies. However, when I was still in school, I’d be painfully detail-oriented and rigid. I actually had to be taught that I could get away with not doing my homework every now and again. Though it would be a little exaggerated to say my parents taught me to flake out of doing homework, they did truly teach me that I couldn’t remind the teachers of upcoming tests.

In many ways, as you can see, I’m a blue personality. The same holds true if I have to describe my personality as a state of weather. Though sometimes it’s a thunderstorm, most of the time it is a blue sky with some clouds. That is, I am usually slightly depressed but not so seriously that it’s a problem. I have my sunny days and my stormy days, but my basic affective state is a lighter shade of blue.

This post was again inspired by a writing prompt from 397 Journal Writing Prompts & Ideas by Scott Green. The prompt was to describe one color that would signify your life.

What I Like About Myself

One of the June prompts over at The SITS Girls asks about a favorite thing about yourself. My husband occasionally jokes that my being a blogger makes me slightly narcissistic, so I’m going to exploit this prompt and list not just one thing I like about myself, but several.

I am going to start with physical features. Beauty is on the inside, but it’s good if you have something you like about your appearance too. I used to hate my body. Now most features are mostly neutral to me. I know I’m quite overweight, and I dislike that, but I don’t hate it. That’s a good thing.

Two features I like about myself are my hair and my eyes. I particularly like my hair since I had it cut and it’s somewhat wavy again. I don’t like short hair, never did. In fact, my mother used to push me about getting my hair cut short when I was young. I didn’t give in. Currently, I have my hair to about shoulder length. My hair is dark brown, although my father keeps calling it dark blond.

My eyes are a kind of greenish blue I’m told. I was never able to see my own eye color, but from my concept of color, I like this. I had a huge cataract removed from my left eye in 2013. Though the surgery wasn’t a success in terms of regained vision, the doctor commented that it did lead to aesthetic improvement.

Now that I think on it, I realize the features that I like are both features that my parents have made negative comments on. The hair wars were in fact much worse than the few words I used above can describe. Regardign my eyes, when I went to the eye doctor for an unrelated reason in 2004, shortly after the cataract had been discovered, my father asked the doctor whether aesthetics could be a reason to get the cataract removed.

With regard to personality features, I don’t like the one aspect my parents are over the top proud of: my intelligence. Conversely, I consider myself quite imaginative and creative, though I know that most people don’t share this opinion. Lastly, I like my determination, and again it’s a trait that most people say I don’t possess. That’s quite interesting.

Quirkiness: The Broader Autism Phenotype #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to another week and another day in the A to Z Challenge on autism. Today’s post is called “Quirkiness” because I couldn’t think of any other relevant word starting with the letter Q. I bet other people have trouble with this letter too. I will focus on the broader autism phenotype, which basically describes people who are quirky. This post is quite involved, so I hope I have explained things properly.

The broader autism phenotype (BAP) describes people who have similar but milder traits than those found in autism spectrum disorder people, and who are not impaired in their functioning by these traits. The broader autism phenotype is particulalry useful for research into the heritability of autism. It is likely that autism is largely a genetic disorder, and this idea is supported by research into the BAP. Non-autistic parents of autistic children more often than parents of neurotypical children exhibit the broader autism phenotype.

So what is the broader autism phenotype? It describes traits that are related to autism and are more common among family members of autistic people. According to Losh et al. (2008), this includes characteristics such as a socially reticent or aloof personality, untactful behavior and fewer high-quality (ie. emotionally reciprocial) friendships. It also includes a rigid personality, little interest in novelty, difficulty adjusting to change and a perfectionistic or overly conscientious personality. Family members of autistic people also exhibit more fear or neuroticism and are at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders.

Non-autistic parents’ autistic traits are, for research purposes, commonly measured by the broad autism phenotype questionnaire (BAPQ). The BAPQ focuses on the traits and behaviors I mentioned above.

Only 10% to 20% of cases of autism can be explained by a known biological cause, such as a genetic mutation (Sasson et al, 2013). These are often sporadic mutations, meaning they occur in the autistic person only and not their parents.

With the broad autism phenotype, autism symptoms do carry over from one generation onto the next. A large number of autistic children in a study by Sasson et al. (2013) had one parent who displayed the broad autism phenotype. If both parents displayed the BAP, a child was also more likely to be autistic than not. The presence of the broader autism phenotype was also associated with the severity of autistic symptoms. In other words, if one or both parents had autistic quirks, an autistic child was more likely to be more severely affected. Maxwell et al. (2013) found the same: a higher score on the BAPQ in parents was related to more severe autistic symptoms (as measured by the Social Responsiveness Scale) in their children. The parents’ BAPQ score was not related to the child’s IQ, which is a common measure of functioning level in autistics.

References

Losh M, Childress D, Lam KSL and Piven J (2008), Defining Key Features of the Broad Autism Phenotype: A Comparison Across Parents of Multiple- and Single-Incidence Autism Families. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet, 147B(4):424-433. DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.b.30612.


Maxwell CR, Parish-Morris J, Hsin O, Bush JC, and Schultz RT, The Broad Autism Phenotype Predicts Child Functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Neurodev Disord. 2013; 5(1): 25. DOI: 10.1186/1866-1955-5-25.


Sasson NJ, Lam KS, Parlier M, Daniels JL, Piven J (2013), Autism and the Broad Autism Phenotype: Familial Patterns and Intergenerational Transmission. J Neurodev Disord, 5(1):11. doi: 10.1186/1866-1955-5-11.