Many years ago I had a friend who dated a narcissist. In true narcissistic fashion she was extremely charming at first, but it soon became clear this woman had a massive ego. After a few months my friend broke up with her. It didn’t end there though. She couldn’t accept his decision so she cajoled him to take her back, and when that failed, blackmailed him with suicide threats. She told him every man she’d ever dated had wanted her back eventually and he’d be no different. I saw my friend age ten years in two months. Just like a vampire, she was draining him of his life force. Tragically she had a mental health issue, one that’s rarely diagnosed due to its very nature, and now he was developing a mental health issue as a result of her being in his life. When I saw him, after a gap of a few months which he’d spent travelling, he looked the picture of health and happiness. I put it down to his time away. I was wrong. ‘I’ve blocked her,’ he said by way of explanation.
One of the hallmarks of narcissism is a craving for attention. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter – any attention is better than none. That’s why narcissists, or people with narcissistic traits, become very adept at goading. And here is where the politics comes into it. In my capacity as amateur armchair psychologist, I’ve developed a theory that certain members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, not naming any names, have narcissistic tendencies.
Not for them a resigned yet respectful acceptance of the huge mandate Jeremy Corbyn has been given. That would draw no attention their way (though it might have earned them our respect). The mainstream media are circling over the PLP like vultures. Some anti Corbyn MPs recognise this as a reason to display at least a certain level of loyalty. For others this presents a golden opportunity. Every time they tear a chunk off Jeremy Corbyn or his team, and throw it out there, hundreds of media vultures are ready to swoop in and eat it all up, then regurgitate it for the general public to eat up, with extra venom thrown in for ‘good’ measure. For the narcissist, this results in lots of attention (and at times money) which their damaged narcissistic egos, crave.
The bad news is, there is nothing we, the Corbyn backing members, can do to change this dynamic. The media are gunning for Jeremy, and some members of the PLP are too. It’s a cross we are going to have to bear. The good news is, how we bear it is in our control. These MPs are the masters of goad. Twitter is where they put these ‘skills’ to best use. Every time we reply to their tweets, whether with angry ‘join the Tories you pillock’ style tweets (the type they love most for it allows them to wallow in self righteous indignation), or a more restrained ‘why are you trying to undermine the party?’ we are feeding their egos. To the goaders, our tweet not only represent the seconds we dedicated of our lives to tweet them, but also tells them we are ranting about them to friends and family, as well as spending a lot of time thinking about them. Frankly every time we give these MP’s the time of day, we are falling into their trap, feeding them the way a fly feeds a flesh eating plant.
So here’s my suggestion. Block them. Think of any MP who has wound you up in the past to the extent you have felt compelled to tweet them, or quote their own tweet with your own commentary added, and block them. This doesn’t have to be just MPs. It may be journalists, or other social commentators. On a personal level I can only think of two I should block. While I was never rude to these people, I have been drawn into fruitless discussions with them, expending energy I could have spent sending out a positive message to those with ears to listen.
But what if we don’t reply? Won’t that look as though we agree with them? Personally I’ve pondered this and I think not. If we channel all our energy into positive tweets about the leadership, we are telling the world we don’t agree with them, but we are doing it in such a way we don’t feed their egos. But won’t it look as if we can’t cope with dissent? Won’t the commentariat say we are falling into our own echo chamber? Well they might say that if we went round blocking everyone who disagreed with the leadership. Let’s face it, we are going to disagree with them ourselves at times. However that is not my proposal. I’m thinking of very specific people who don’t do debate, but do specialise in winding people up. Even if we get some satisfaction from venting our spleen their way, I’m growing more and more convinced it’s just not worth it. How can it be when it fuels their sense of self importance?
I am fully aware this crusade may never get anywhere, but I felt it was worth a try.
These MPs love attention. The thing that will disturb them most, is not getting any. That’s why I’m going to be blocking a few after I’ve finished writing this post. If we don’t acknowledge them, we are starving, rather than feeding their voracious egos. Without these MPs in our lives, we will grow stronger, happier and healthier, with more space in our lives for positivity. We grow while they shrivel a little.
Just ask my friend.