Narcissus, from Greek mythology, was the son of the nymph Liriope and the river god Cephissus. Though Narcissus was very beautiful, he was unkind, and scorned the many who adored him. When the nymph Echo saw Narcissus, she fell in love with him. She could only repeat his own words back to him, and he rejected her. Heartbroken, she roamed the woods until all that was left was the sound of her echo. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, heard of this. She led Narcissus to a pool so that he could see his own reflection for the first time, and he fell in love with it. There he languished, not able to part with his visage looking up at him from the water. The flower that grew on the bank of the pool where he died is the narcissus, also known as the daffodil or jonquil.
Greek Mythology.com: Narcissus, the Self-Lover
The term narcissism was first used to describe the mental disorder of pathological self-absorption by Havelock Ellis in 1898. Early theories suggest that narcissism results from childhood experiences, specifically parenting. Inordinate criticism can result in “vulnerable narcissism,” in which the narcissist experiences a lack of self-esteem and so acts out in a grandiose manner in order to off-set this internal inferiority. Excessive praise, on the other hand, can result in “grandiose narcissism,” in which the narcissist uses external validation to maintain their sense of being special and superior. (Britannica.com)
Being on the receiving end of true narcissism can feel like being used or manipulated, whether in an intimate relationship, a friendship, or a co-working situation. The narcissist is focused on being admired, immersed in their self-superiority, and so is unable to understand the needs of others. The narcissist lacks empathy and comes across as cold and uncaring.
Although most of us engage in narcissistic behavior at times, according to Cleveland Clinic: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), a person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) will demonstrate at least five of the following characteristics:
Narcissism is a condition with an underlying psychological cause. Fortunately, it is possible to develop the skills to improve. This involves therapy and practicing awareness of the needs of others, as well as developing a healthy self-esteem that does not rely exclusively on outside validation.
WebMD: Narcissism Symptoms and Signs
Science Direct: Narcissism
It starts the night before. I heft my 11-foot white-and-blue paddle board onto the roof of my car, pulling my sturdy tie downs snug. Coffee is prepped in the maker, turquoise dry bag by the front door.
The 5 AM alarm isn’t pleasant, but since it isn’t pleasant for anyone that means I get the lake to myself. With the car heat on high, I drive 45 minutes along the Elk River, the road winding through pines and small ponds, then opening to views of the verdant valley with a dramatic backdrop of snowy mountain peaks.
It is 33°F when I pull into the lot at Pearl. Layers are essential: thick knit hat, down jacket, old ski gloves, fleece pants and neoprene booties. I don’t like being cold. I feel exhilarated when I push off, wondering if surfers have this sense of excitement, too, every time they launch themselves into the awaiting water.
I stick close to shore, comfortable in my solid balance on the board. Crawdads scuttle underneath as I glide by. The dip of my paddle is rhythmic, the stillness of the entire lake bigger than any thoughts I’ve brought with me.
Circumnavigating the lake, I know where to hug in close and where to give space: the old submerged wood and wire fence; the fallen tree with branches just beneath the surface; the beaver lodge, air bubbles rising up from between the heaped twigs and boughs, then vanishing with a soft pop.
White steam rolls across the navy water, and the golden-yellow sun peeks, just barely, above the mountains. A blue heron, whose fishing I’ve disturbed, flies off in a huff towards the opposite shore for more solitary hunting grounds. I pause, listening to one of the feeder creeks trickling into the lake, and spy an eagle overhead. I watch as it takes up its post at the top of a large evergreen, feeling very lucky. This is the first eagle I’ve seen here.
The breeze picks up near the dam, rippling the water into tiny waves that slap the bottom of my board. I look for the marmot scampering on the dam rocks, but it isn’t here again, and I wonder if it has moved to another home this summer. I point my board into the last stretch of my loop, turning my head to find the yellow, white, and purple blossoms tucked amongst the long grasses. Wild roses, their pink faces hanging right over the lake, compete with the pines to see their reflection in the watery mirror.
The cove where I’m parked is now warm with sunlight, slender white aspen boughs arching over lush emerald mini-meadows. The lot is empty and I relish the quiet between bird melodies drifting through the air. I say a silent thank you, taking it all in one more time, before driving back up the road, drinking my still-warm coffee.
The word gaslight may inspire the image of old-fashioned lanterns along a dark, cobblestone street, dispelling the damp and fog with their warm glow. In contrast, the term as we use it today is more about encouraging fog and definitely doesn’t leave one warm and glowing.
Here’s how the word gaslighting is defined at Merriam-Webster.com:
psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one's emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.
Our usage of the term stems from the 1944 film Gaslight, directed by George Cukor, and starring Ingrid Bergman as Paula Alquist and Charles Boyer as Gregory Anton. The movie, originally a 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton, is the story of a wife who is psychologically manipulated and controlled by her husband. She begins to doubt her own sanity, relies heavily upon her husband, and withdraws from relationships outside of her household.
Bergman’s Oscar for this role is well-earned: watching elegant, loving Paula unravel is excruciating. The tactics Gregory employs become especially cruel as Paula believes he is the one person she can trust. By film’s end, Paula and her strength win out - in no small part because someone validates her and supports her.
The film is an example of gaslighting in romantic relationships. But gaslighting can occur in other areas of life. Here are a few examples:
Seeking support and talking to trusted individuals are among the steps to take if one feels they are being gaslit.
Simply Psychology Article: Origin of the Term Gaslighting
Newport Institute Article: How to Tell If Someone Is Gaslighting You
Reliable. Steady. Offering safe harbor, dependable navigation, and wise warnings. When I think of lighthouses as they were used prior to modern maritime technology, I picture a tower, resolute in the midst of lightning and the crashing of ocean waves, its beam of light slicing through murky darkness to guide a storm-tossed ship to shore.
Lighthouses were designed to provide guidance through treacherous waterways, and they also served as warnings. For example, Eddystone Lighthouse, 9 miles south of Rame Head in Cornwall, England, is built on submerged rocks - this lighthouse serves as a warning to stay away. Eddystone was built four times, testifying to the extremely inhospitable conditions.
Lighthouse keepers were mostly men. Ida Lewis, for whom Arlington National Cemetery’s Lewis Drive is named, was keeper for the U.S. Lighthouse Service from 1879-1911, at Lime Rock Lighthouse off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. Her father and mother were the keepers before her. During her time she pulled many people from the sea, and even rescued one sheep, according to this “Harper’s Weekly” article on Ida Lewis.
There’s another lady associated with lighthouses. The Statue of Liberty was categorized as a federal lighthouse at the time of its dedication in 1886. It was also the first lighthouse in the U.S. to be powered by electricity.
Lighthouse “day marks” are the paint colors and patterns which make each one unique and also differentiate it from its background - a red-striped lighthouse in front of a white cliff face for example. Lighthouses also were distinguishable from one another, especially when several were in close proximity, by their individual light patterns.
Years ago I read the book Attracting Perfect Customers: The Power of Strategic Synchronicity. In it, the authors used the analogy of a lighthouse to demonstrate how to attract compatible clients. This idea has really stayed with me - applicable to not just business but every area of life.
Lighthouses represent consistency, resilience. They are reliable - never pretending to be something they are not. They stand very tall, very proud, proclaiming what they are, what they represent. When huge waves crash, jagged lightning splits the sky, and thunder roars, the lighthouse is steadfast. Lighthouses are often in dangerous places and rough conditions - the pummeling from sky and sea at times unrelenting, but they stick around and do what they were made to do. Through it all, they shine their light.
Learn More/Main Source
MapQuest Travel Article: How Lighthouses Work
Jacqueline Denny, ACC, CHPC, LMT