What is communal narcissism? Is healing from trauma culturally influenced?
What is Communal Narcissism?
Is Healing From Trauma Culturally Influenced?
Answering Your Questions.
Healing from trauma is culturally influenced. Here’s some perspective on that.
You’re welcome to either watch or read the transcription below.
I hope this is helpful.
Hi Loves, happy Wednesday.
It’s Colleen here from Saliya Life wellness.
I always forget to say my name so
Hi, it’s Colleen here.
And as always, I try to share some perspective when I’m getting the same questions over a number of days.
I’ve put together some notes, and hopefully, I can give you as much information as possible.
I don’t speak in sound bites.
Education is not delivered in sound bites of three minutes, so hopefully, I can give you as much information in a short time span.
People come to me for various reasons, most of which either has to do with burnout or healing from a traumatic experience,
and what I should say is healing from trauma is
There are a lot of cultural differences.
For me, I’ve been fortunate enough to live in 35 countries, which I’ve mentioned several times. The benefit of this is that it’s given me a really broad perspective of how different cultures deal with the whole healing process and traumatic experiences.
I’m in North America at the moment, and one of the main differences between what we see in Asia and what we see in North
America is what people identify with & how the healing process is handled.
In Asia, people don’t identify very strongly with qualifications.
Whereas in North America qualifications are valued highly.
There is very much this perception of the person with a piece of paper has your answers.
So we see things like being qualified in mindfulness, being qualified in Meditation, and being qualified having a piece of paper and being qualified in just about everything.
For me, yes, I am well qualified for my age, but I definitely don’t identify with my qualifications.
For me, the value of a qualification is only ever how much you’ve applied that to your own life and actually implemented what you’ve learned within your own life.
From an Asian perspective, Wisdom is valued highly, and you cannot be qualified in Wisdom. This is how these traditions see it.
They value personal insight, and they value community very highly.
We see the sense of community very high across Africa and definitely across Asia, whereby The “We” is far more important than the “me”.
In North America, this is very, very different.
It’s very much a sense of ME, very high levels of entitlement and the questions that I’m getting at the moment have a lot to do with narcissism.
This is a really interesting topic, and it’s quite broad.
I can’t give you everything within one segment, but I can give you some information.
One of the important things to know is that part of my life is early childhood development work.
The ages between 0 & 5 are really, really important, and so a lot of people who come to me, particularly women, are healing from narcissistic relationships.
They might be living with anorexia and bulimia, and anorexia and bulimia are very much connected to the early childhood stages.
So if you’re a parent and you’re watching this, the ages between 0 & 5 for a child are really important in order to
develop a strong sense of self.
To actually know:
Who they are within themselves and from there
to know Who they are within their family and then
within their Community
This is a very important gap that’s missing in North America at the moment.
People identify very much with what is outside of themselves.
So they identify with qualifications, they identify with a group,
they identify with the possessions that they have, but the personal sense of security is particularly low.
Whereas from an Asian perspective establishing a very strong sense of self is important.
People often mention this topic within yoga.
We should have no ego.
There’s a very clear difference between ego and a strong sense of self and a strong sense of personal identity.
When it comes to narcissism, this is also important from a yoga perspective because there is one branch of narcissism referred to as communal narcissism.
For me, this is quite interesting within the yoga community because there are overlaps.
We see this with social movements that are involved in high conflict.
When there’s mass conflict or high conflict situations.
It’s a group of people that have taken up a banner to change the entire world.
We’re going to rescue, save and fix the whole world—the Messiah complex.
There is a question mark of communal narcissism on this.
Within communal narcissism, we see this very much with people, like I said, who wants to rescue, save and fix the entire world. They often seek validation in charity work.
Not everyone that’s involved in charity work is necessarily a narcissist. Still, it does feature a lot in terms of having a sense of emptiness within the person (a void), and so feeling needed in the world is fulfilled, or that emptiness is fulfilled by rescuing, saving and fixing the entire world.
We see this with social media pictures very often of like, you know, the women posing with orphans, for example, and
things like this.
I don’t need to go into this necessarily. If you’ve ever seen photographs of people posing with orphans, this will make total sense.
So the validation of receiving validation from the community by rescuing those who are less fortunate than us.
In Asia, you don’t see this. You don’t see, particularly within Buddhist societies.
I don’t necessarily identify with any one particular belief system; I have respect for all of them, and my understanding of various
cultures and various belief systems are broad, having lived in different places, but within Buddhist communities, you don’t see this.
You don’t see the monks and the nuns going out into society to kind of rescue, save and fix people.
The Monastery is provided for those who want to go and develop their personal wisdom, develop their personal insight.
The Monastery is a place where there they go.
You don’t see the monks and nuns going out to save or convert or fix everybody within the community.
They offer the services, or they offer the place and then if people want to go, they go.
There also isn’t a belief, and for me, I believe the same:
I don’t believe in people ever being broken, and I don’t believe in people needing to be fixed.
I believe that we are here to grow and develop as humans. So part of that growth process & part of that development process, and part of that evolution process is that we come up against struggles and come up against difficulties in life and then learn the skills to navigate that.
If you’ve read any of the testimonials on my website, you’ll often see people say things like I teach them tools or techniques.
For me, that’s important.
My role is to teach you techniques.
I don’t provide answers.
I provide perspective, and I provide techniques for you to find your own answers.
I definitely am NOT the holder of anyone’s answers.
Ultimately people are responsible for the consequences of their own choices.
That is very important, and I realise that my own belief system in this is very much influenced, having lived in Asia for so many years.
In terms of the narcissist and dealing with narcissism, one of the things to be aware of is that there’s a high level of conflict, and these people are also prone to rage and are particularly defensive. This is something to be aware of.
It’s very difficult to please, like nothing is ever right, and as I said, a very high level of insecurity and entitlement.
Also, what I’m seeing in North America, and this does make sense from a lot of the research that I’ve done on narcissism, is that
that there’s a high level of incivility.
When you greet people, they don’t necessarily greet you back.
Selfish behaviour has become normal.
Mass media and marketers understand consumer psychology very well, and people don’t realise they’re being manipulated.
People don’t actually realise that they’re perhaps following a trend that is not normal.
It’s normal within this particular culture, but there are very different approaches in other places.
For the narcissist and sociopath, there is the perception of “I’m The King Of The World.”
I hold all of your answers, rather pretentious and arrogant, controlling, and I think the most important one is the lack of empathy.
So for me and my own personal journey about learning all of this, I found this really interesting because I had never …I couldn’t relate the first time I realised that I was speaking with a person that didn’t have a sense of empathy. Empathy was only a word.
Didn’t know what empathy actually felt like within them-self.
This confused me. I have a very high level of empathy, and I connect very easily to people on an emotional level.
For me, this was really interesting as part of my own growth process, and my own evolution and my own development was
realising that there are people that are wired differently, i.e. (with no empathy)
It’s not necessarily a matter of being right or wrong or good or bad or any of that.
It’s just that we are wired differently, and in working with mostly women, working with the women who have recently been coming to me recovering from traumatic experiences within narcissistic situations, that is what is something that they also realised within themselves is that there has been a lack of empathy.
I’m sharing this within the yoga community because it’s very often women who care deeply.
Those within the yoga community, those within health care, those within education.
The carers of the world very often pair with a narcissistic partner without realising.
It’s almost as if what is seen in the carer is needed within the narcissist, so this partnership is widespread. It’s only much later when things like rage and toxic behaviour become apparent. The superficial behaviour and grandiosity become very clear that women start realising things are not in alignment.
Men also do experience it. It’s definitely not gender-specific.
There are definitely instances of men pairing with narcissistic partners as well.
And so that’s why I’m sharing some of this information because the questions that I’ve received have been from both men and women, where a lot of the time, the men don’t really understand.
They’re simply trying to relate to women, so they ask me questions a lot of the time.
They’re not necessarily clients of mine, but they were around me and asked me questions about certain things to try to relate to things going on in their own lives.
So yes, there are definitely narcissistic women in the world as well.
I’m not naive about this by any stretch of the imagination.
The reason why this is relevant to yoga and relevant to the Trauma-sensitive yoga teacher training; is that within the recovery from dealing with situations like this, dealing with things like bulimia and anorexia and a lot of like hardship and pain that has come from destructive relationships, is that there is a difference between thinking your way through a healing process and intellectualising your way through a healing process versus having the ability to go through something where you are
able to Embody it.
There is a process of:
- Re-establishing that personal identity
- Re-establishing that personal security
- Personal self-confidence
- Personal self-compassion and empathy
- Personal clarity and then a
- A personal connection to yourself and then to
- Whatever is greater than you
- Whatever religion or faith or whatever that means to you.
- You’re able to Embody it.
Healing from trauma, going back to the beginning of what I was saying, is healing from trauma is both culturally influenced and
the approach is very different in terms of viewing it purely from an academic perspective and simply delivering people with information that they read versus a healing process whereby it is embodied.
I hope at least this has given you some information and some perspective on the different approaches to culture and an important
conversation that is necessary because this Communal narcissism is very prevalent within the yoga community.
Before you leave, this might be helpful.
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