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Saints & Sinners
by Mark Sichel, LCSW

Saints and sinners, pedestals and gutters, beauties and beasts are all examples of dichotomies that appeal to narcissistic thinkers.

Do you look in the mirror and feel that you're either stunning or else you're hideous? C'mon, what's wrong with being simply attractive? Do you do your job feeling that you're either a genius or else you're a moron? Hey, what's wrong with being simply skilled and effective? Do you feel like the Dean of Charm School or the Head of the Bored of Education? What's wrong with simply being personable? There IS a middle ground!

A realistic perception of self and others is a necessary ingredient for healthy living or sustaining recovery.

Are you able to think and function in a middle and realistic ground of human experience? Can you see yourself as attractive rather than gorgeous or hideous? Do you feel you can go out with a guy who is handsome rather than stunning? Can you live with yourself being a 7 or 8 in things? Or if you're not a perfect 10 are you a zero?

To what degree are you able to find the middle ground and live with shades of gray in yourself and others? To better understand the phenomenon of narcissistic thinking and the narcissistic idealization/devaluation formulation (what psychologists call all of this extreme thinking), compare the words below. To what degree do you veer from the reasonable perspective on yourself and others? Rate yourself (you don't have to be a 10).

Reasonable         Idealized         Devalued        
Respected Idolized Denigrated
Liked Adored Despised
Valued Sanctified Demonized
Cherished Deified Vilified
Loved Worshipped Hated
Admired Venerated Loathed
Praised Glorified Defamed
Skillful Masterful Brainless
Intelligent Genius Dimwitted
Resourceful Brilliant Useless
Attractive Gorgeous Hideous
Beautiful Stunning Grotesque
Pretty Ravishing Repulsive
Engaging Enthralling Boring
Smart Brilliant Stupid

Want to learn more about a middle ground of experience? Click here: Correct Your Narcissistic Thinking

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