It’s extremely surprising to me that I had never named this experience for myself.

Yet due to recent events with what I am sure is a partner suffering NPD, I began to learn about the central role shame plays in the creation of fantasy ‘selves’.

I am of course no expert, yet so far I am gaining a lot of first hand experience of just how shame has shaped my entire being and life choices.

I see it in a few overlapping ways, like Venn Diagrams.

One way is to have one circle represent all the things one believes one “should” be, another circle representing all the things one is. The distance between these two circles is the amount of shame one will experience.

If they overlap, one may have a functional “ego” , a place where there is some correlation between the “should” and “is” where one can be a realistic ‘being’.

If there is little to no overlap, the self created is pure fantasy.

This is what I have learnt about NPD. The creation of the “false self” is in response to the perceived gaping distance between what one has been led to believe one should be, and what one is.

It’s equally applicable to the Dependant spectrum of cluster C "disorders.

"Normal and well adjusted " would seem to be when both the beliefs and the reality are closer to the facts.

Shame, for me, has been completely un-named in my explanations.

However, it like the proverbial fish not seeing the ocean it swims in.

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Further to this, I coined a term to describe my experience of shame; accumulated shame.

The belief I currently hold, causing me to respond with shame is what I own; or more precisely, what I don’t own.

This is accumulated shame. I didn’t see myself in the process of believing that everything will work out, however like the NPD disorder, I have consistently “overplayed my hand”.

The facts do not line up with either my belief or the actual situation.

The response? Shame.

Further, I am going for now with the definition of shame being the ongoing, morbid and pathological feeling of embarrassment.

The defence is to create a narrative and self in that narrative which is the hero of a “higher” cause.

Hence, narcissism.

I also now question what “empathy” means to me.

The function of a pure fantasy self is to guard against all evidence of the actual (or perceived) failure to be/achieve the “ideal”. This includes the idea of being “empathetic/caring”

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Nice I like this but I can’t help but think the below has something wrong with it

Is it so that one belief/reality can be closer to facts than another? A more factually based belief/reality?

Or is it maybe that the functional identity is not so much more closely aligned with facts but rather it is more skilfully aligned with the core values of the group?

So for example the functional identity is able to perform in such a way as to align with the core values of being a Good Samaritan, a hard worker, a good lover etc. But is it any closer to being in alignment with facts than the identity that has failed to integrate in such a successful way?

Is it that one is simply better able to intuit the values which are needed in each situation and better able to integrate these into a seemingly coherent whole? The various identity types that struggle with integrating into society seem to be so because they are unable to play this game for whatever the reasons are. They are unable to transform the gross into the sophisticated and so the cracks show what is going on underneath (the instinctual self), a well integrated identity will be very good at keeping all this smoothed out. Until the shit hits the fan of course and then even the well adjusted will act in the same instinctually driven way as the poorly adjusted, what Richard observed in war.

So when they say they are a Good Samaritan they really do help the homeless man, they really do give to charity etc but is it that they are closer aligned to facts OR they are better able to internalise the correct performance required by society?

I guess this could be important because with actualism it’s not even about becoming better adjusted, which can be a very useful goal in itself or maybe even a necessary bottom line for the successful application of the method. But then it’s about moving past that, where even this dichotomy of well/poorly adjusted identity does not apply.

As Richard writes he is technically insane haha, how well adjusted in the eyes of society is the one who no longer has a self?

Very useful point @Kub933 .

Yes, that does make more observable sense to me.

When I was a Christian, for the first 25 years of life, I was far from being aligned with facts, yet I was in the context of Christian culture, aligned with it’s definition and belief about what a correct self is.

So I am mixing up the actualist goal of being aligned with facts, and the idea of a “well adjusted self”.

This is where I have been drawing all kinds of Venn diagrams on my iPad. Trying to understand the fantasy element.

Shame itself is a fantasy. The “should” circle also full of fantasy, with a few “sensible” items thrown in for legitimacy.

One can have three circles going, from the perspective of actualism; the " should" circle (I should be better looking, richer etc) the facts circle (I am alive no matter how I look, I hav money to eat and live), and the “self” circle, which is created to -well, I am not sure what it’s doing to be honest! It’s a fantasy to cover over shame, it would seem.

For me when I came to England between the ages of 12-18 I had very little social interaction. I was a complete outcast as in I would not utter anything beyond yes/no at school for years. I did not have any friends, girlfriend etc. I did climbing and parkour with others but this just doesn’t match the kind of interactions you undergo in a social group.

And because I missed out on social interaction during these years I simply did not internalise certain things that others took for granted.

When I was older and began trying to integrate into society there was like this missing piece that I just couldn’t quite fix. Why were things so difficult and baffling for me that others seemed to do effortlessly (with regards to social interaction).

It’s like I missed out on this kind of deep and rich interaction which allows various subtle and intricate social behaviours to be formed and internalised.

I guess it’s all good that I eventually committed to just getting rid of the whole lot then :laughing:

But I am on the outside to anyone looking a very well adjusted identity, and yet on the inside I am broken, never quite able to ‘be’ what ‘they’ are.

Here are the two circles, however you have externalised one of them by putting it as being what ‘they’ are. So in that, which is what is normal (we all think the beliefs are out ‘there’ coming from others), the shame isn’t experienced because it’s not ‘me’ doing it. The self is protecting it’s culpability by externalising the source.

(not picking on you here, thinking out loud)

(The context this is all being seen in - for the record is lovely sunsets, soft sand, and kindness towards myself)

I am quite fascinated by the entire topic of shame. I even wonder if it’s not far more primary in the formation of all ‘selves’ (not just the so called “disorders” ; which imply there is a correct “ordered” self🤣)

Yeah I guess the problem is that the core values of society being so deeply ingrained are taken to be facts whereas they are just truths.
So then the one who is better able to align with them appears to be living in alignment with facts - like when they say “I am a real one and you are a fake” :laughing: This is all about how well one aligns with the truths of society.

Yeah I think this would likely fail in practice, its like trying to understand actuality by using the constructs derived from reality. Then all you end up doing is projecting some kind of neutral physical reality that is nothing like actuality.

What comes to mind for me here is that actuality has this magical fairy tale like flavour to it, it’s way too wonderful to ever define it with these kind of luke warm statements like “oh I am not the most beautiful but at least I have two legs and arms and I am alive”.

Very well put.

Tonights sunset was one of the most magical I have seen. The Indian Ocean was almost perfectly flat, not a cloud in the sky. The small waves were creating all sorts of every changing patterns as they swept at different angles on the sand.

The “fact” of sun, sand, and water, definitely doesn’t describe the experience!

What I am liking most about this topic is that I have a new word to use, and it’s actually describing the experience. It’s really bizarre that “shame” never made it into a description of my feelings!

Yeah from all this reading I have been doing recently there is one bit that was usefull actually. This concept of knowledge requiring falsification, as in you bring something to the table and the very point is for this to be now poked and prodded and tested and challenged etc.

I think often my approach in the past was to make whatever wisdom I thought I had kind of ‘sacred’… “this is my precious formulation” which is all back to front, it’s the leathery armchairs again :laughing:

No it doesn’t, I am always blown away by this fairy tale aspect. When I was landing on the plane last night the view out of the window was incredible. Actually I was in a bad mood because the plane was delayed and it’s a long journey and I am scared of crashing and dying lol.

It was just getting dark so I could still see the clouds and the city lights below, somehow the colours fused into this pink/red shade against the grey clouds and just for a brief moment I was in that fairly tale world again, and it blows me away every time, it’s like the perfection mounts exponentially and it has no cap.

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I love that we are talking about actuality beyond the topic of this thread.

It makes me happy to consider that it’s been a decade, and now I can name probably the most central emotion of my life and sit on the beach running the soft sand through my fingers with a grin on my face.