Pulling Back the Veil on Illusions, Denial, & Narcissism

Sunset, Sky, Sun, Cloud, Twilight

Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
and feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow
it’s cloud illusions I recall.
I really don’t know clouds at all. – Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now
I am 66-years-old now, and as I look back through the string of events that have been woven together to create my life, I can see that much of my past behavior was  based on partial or cloudy bits of information–the illusions that I allowed to pose as truths to myself and that have blinded me.
The problem does not lie in my lack of thinking. I think all of the time, and I piece things together in a way that makes sense to me at the time. But I can see now that some of the things that I have reasoned to be true were not actually true at all. I know that in some cases, I have swallowed half-truths and have jumped into pits of denial and have floated there for a while and then have later figured things out. What alarms me is that on some issues, I am probably still in denial. That is the nature of denial. When we are in denial, we do not realize that what we are thinking and believing is merely self-deception.
At times, denial is a type of defense mechanism that prevents us from realizing things that we cannot fully fathom–things that would cause us so very much emotional pain that we could not bear it. Yet, sometimes our denials are ways that we do not acknowledge things that we know that we should not be doing or thinking. Our denials become the places that we hide.
“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
But allowing ourselves to remain in denial can have serious consequences.
“We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.” – Patrick Rothfuss
Ultimately, our denials become the masks that we wear, and those masks become the people that we are.
“She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts, cunning or powerful or even marvelous, beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of their hearts. They do this because they are afraid of the world and of being stared at, or relied upon to do feats of bravery or boldness. And all of those brave and wild and cunning and marvelous and beautiful parts they hid away and left in the dark to grow strange mushrooms—and yes, sometimes those wicked and unkind parts, too—end up in their shadow.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

Perhaps we want to elevate ourselves in our businesses, but we perceive that the others ahead of us are preventing our ascensions. We might do things to discredit those other people with the administration or with other clients. If we do that and KNOW that we are doing it, we are not in denial–we are merely mean. This type of mean manipulator has probably devised an invisibility cloak that allows him to slip in and out of people’s views. Thus, the very skillful manipulator can be greedy without appearing to others to be so. The most deceitful people are masters of disguise.

Great politicians often fall into this group of people. Salespersons also often fall into this group of people. When people can behave selfishly without being detected by others, they are excellent schemers. That type of person is probably not in denial at all. That type of person may have compartmentalized himself away from having to deal with anything that he does not want to acknowledge, but this is less a case of denial than it is a case of narcissism. Narcissists simply do not care about the people that they hurt or about how many people that they have forced off the road, to jockey themselves to the fronts of the lines.

This same type of back-stabbing also takes place socially. Sometimes we begin to feel that another person is no longer socially advantageous to us, and we begin seeking excuses to exclude that person. So that we won’t appear to be cruel, we may lie to other people about the person that we want to discredit. Sometimes we may also lie to ourselves about that other person. When we lie to ourselves and believe our own lies, we might be in denial, but we might also be narcissists, and as I have said before, narcissists are some of the most evil people that we know.

The bottom line is that all of us need to force ourselves to pull back the curtains that form around ourselves. At the very least, our cloud’s illusions may be blocking our own suns and preventing us from seeing some of the beautiful opportunities and people that pass by.

Eye, Blue, Vision, Iris, Futuristic

The Mask

“She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.” – Shel Silverstein

We need to lift the clouds that settle around us and that soften the edges of our behaviors. We need to look at our clouds from both sides now and to scrutinize them, asking ourselves if we are functioning from our own delusions or if we are actually seeing things as they are.

©Jacki Kellum June 30, 2016

Carnival, Venice, Carnival Of Venice, Masks, Italy

“Let’s burn our masks at midnight
and as flickering flames ascend,
under the witness of star-clouds,
let us vow to reclaim our true selves.
Done with hiding and weary of lying,
we’ll reconcile without and within.
Then, like naked squint-eyed newborns,
we’ll greet the glorious birth of dawn;
blinking at the blazing, wondrous colors
we somehow failed to notice before.”
― John Mark Green

You might enjoy reading my post: A Narcissist May be the Most Evil Person You Know Here

©Jacki Kellum January 13, 2016

Now You See Me



2 thoughts on “Pulling Back the Veil on Illusions, Denial, & Narcissism

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