Tuesday, July 13, 2010

thoughts on my earlier post, blogging in general and the pitfall of narcissism

Last night when I wrote about my kids, I was pretty aware that I was gushing over them. Maybe a little too much. And I realize that I gush over Brent whenever I write about him (because he's awesome...).

This morning I reflected on a brief conversation that Brent and I had about narcissism. I had read an interview with Angelina Jolie and immediately thought, narcissist. I need to admit that's not a good habit, diagnosing people you're reading about in the paper or on a blog. But it got me thinking about how our look-at-me, read-about-me, watch-my-youtube culture seems like a petri dish for narcissism.

On one hand, I don't want to be guilty of showcasing only the positive side. On the other hand, I want to be cautious as I write about my family. I should say only positive things about my kids or my husband on a blog. If they want to be vulnerable about their weaknesses, I'll let them do that.

So, if you're reading along and find yourself thinking, "Wow! Jenna's kids are the most amazing kids ever," or "Dang, Jenna, you are a deluded child-worshipper," just keep in mind that I'm trying to be respectful of them by leaving out the bad stuff.


Karla Anne said...

There is a particular blogger (well, maybe more than one) from your neck of the woods who would definitely fit the description of a narcissist. Your kids are blessed to have a mom like you, Jenna.....

Jenna said...

I'm sure it's none of my friends!! I'm really not trying to point anyone out. Just don't want to fall off the horse either way as I'm thinking about my approach.

Jen said...

My sister-in-law and I were just talking about this the other day. We want to share what's going on, but don't want to create a Miss. Perfect persona. However, I don't think a blog is the place to air all if our issues either. That's better kept in a small group with people you interact with face to face. I like hearing about you and your kids. I dint feel a sense of inadequacy when I read about how awesome they are. I don't read to compare my family with yours. So, blog away!

Karla Anne said...

I was definitely not referring to any of your friends, Jenna! :)

JohnnyB said...

I would challenge you to read a book - "the Church of Facebook". I just finished reading it and found it to be very challenging how we use and interact with social networking. It talked about the fact that we can be selective and have control over what others see. I believe that all of these social networks can be wonderful tools for brining the community of believers together - and I believe that we do need to be challenged and be critical of the ways we use these tools. Others believe that they are wastes of time - I disagree. I believe that blogs and FB and such are all wonderful tools - they can develop relationships - maybe not as deep as the face to face ones, but relationships none the less. We all can learn how to grow through the trials and the successes of each other. We are called as a body of believers to rejoice and to weep together - these tools allow us to do both better. I would challenge you to glorify God in how you use them - don't give up. Be mindful but glorifying!

Nikki said...

I have had the same thoughts about blogging/social networking and how it can (often unwittingly) lead to narcisissm. What got me thinking about it was a book I saw at Barnes & Noble called "The Narcissism Epidemic", which was on that very subject! I didn't read it (as if I had time :)), but it's definitely made me think more about why/when/what I post on my blog/facebook/twitter/etc. Sometimes it's fun just to share information to stay connected with others, but sometimes it can cross that line & I want to be careful. I actually once read a blog that offered — as a PRIZE — a Christmas card from the blog author & her family. Um, HI NARCISSISM.
Anyway, all that to say, I don't know you and am pretty new to your blog, but I don't see that in your blog at all. I just see a mom proud of her kids. It's sweet & it's how we're supposed to be. So don't worry. :)

Anonymous said...

What a thoughtful, and thought-provoking post. For the record, I don't think your posts, or the intention behind them, are in any way narcissistic or otherwise self-absorbed. I also agree with John's point-which I think boils down to: the abuse of something doesn't mean that it's wrong to use that something correctly (like alcohol, recreation time, TV, etc.).

Believe it or not, I've spent a great deal of time studying narcissism, for a variety of work-related issues. Not that I'd quibble with the Mayo Clinic, which provides the information in your link. However, I think that its thumbnail description is a little "off". True narcissism is marked by a near complete, if not totally complete, lack of emotional separation between self and others. I.e., a boss who is unable to understand why his/her employees or family or friends would think differently than him/her about ANYTHING because he/she sees others close to them as extensions of themselves. Complete lack of empathy, etc. is common.

Also, and this can't be discounted, the belief that one is "above the rules", that laws and rules are meant for "lesser people". I'll probably get flamed for this, but I think a classic example is Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. I really don't think he thought what he was doing was wrong--for him. Maybe for his Chief of Staff, but not for him.

All that to say this: I think our culture should distinguish between real narcissism--which needs to be treated and dealt with professionally--from the basic human tendency to focus inwardly. (Again, which I don't think you do on your blog). The common inwardly-focused person who likes to talk about themselves isn't automatically a narcissist.

Anyway, on a related note, we should have some license to talk about ourselves on our blogs or on Facebook. If people don't want to read it, they don't have to. They're thriving because they offer what nothing else does--a free, highly efficient way to update others on your life.

Again, great blog. Great wit--always love your updates. And remember to buy my forthcoming book, entitled "Working for the Narcissist: How NOT to Jump Out of a Second-Floor Office and Break Your Leg", subtitled: "It's not required, but it is advisable".