If he thinks he's Bob Dylan, you should probably avoid him
One contributor's experience of narcissistic men
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know the type. Powerful, confident, charming, attractive. These can all be very positive qualities in a person and I am not dismissing them or generalising by calling them negative. It is however when these strong features are mixed with and in turn overrode by arrogance, narcissism and manipulation that we begin to have a problem.
Despite my title, this is in no way a sexist argument either. Of course, it’s is not just men that possess this egocentric personality. It shows up time and time again across all genders, as well as spanning all age groups and cultural backgrounds. Coming from a romantic personal perspective, however, I can only refer to a limited demographic of 18 - 20 something males, and believe me when I tell you I feel like I already have enough demoralising stories from this bunch to last a lifetime.
So here’s the thing. They may not actually be aspiring musicians who misleadingly think they are as talented as, if not superior to Bob Dylan (although trust me I have dated one or two of those types), but the people I’m talking about do radiate that wild, free spirited, live fast die young attitude similar to the likes of famously cool celebrities e.g. Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Mick Jagger. Don’t get me wrong, creatively I am a huge fan of all of these men and have gone through phases of massively fancying them and dreaming about having been a hippy, free loving roady type alongside them.
However over the last few years having turned this once innocent desire into a near obsession with the overly confident, reckless, bad boy type I am starting to think it may not be such a glamorous life after all.
You see I truly believe that the world is divided between ‘narcissists’ and ‘empaths’, or at least people who lean towards one of these mindsets. Whilst a lot of people very impressively seem to have created a happy balance between these sides of themselves, possessing both self-confidence and empathy towards others, unfortunately, many have not yet managed to do so. Even more unfortunately is the fact that those who are overly empathetic are often drawn to those who are overly narcissistic. ‘Empaths’ have a tendency to see the best in people, as well as a deep desire to help and bring light to others who have, may have been dismissed as too ‘dark’ and ‘dangerous’ or ‘cynical’ and ‘unpredictable’ by common society. Whilst these may seem like good, kind characteristics of a person, they also can lead to a naivety of blindness to people's real intentions and can leave them very vulnerable and open to being hurt by others. Narcissists, on the other hand, may abuse and manipulate this power that their attractive confidence brings by taking advantage of those that are more fragile and less self-assured than themselves.
I am not saying all those who possess these narcissistic characteristics are necessarily bad people. Many of them may just be going through a rough time in their life and could be using this mask as a defence mechanism. The more life experience they have and the more people they hurt through their carelessness and self-obsession the more their conscience and empathy may grow. It could, however, easily go the other way too.
All I am really getting at here is that one should approach these types of people with caution. Just because they may be cool and creative or handsome and hippyish and just because they may be the person everyone in the room is looking at, the one that commands attention, it doesn't mean they will be good to or for you. Take it from me when I say time and time again I have been drawn to these types of beautiful, eccentric men, and time and time again they have deeply hurt and let me down. They have twisted their words and their way of being to make me believe we had something special, in turn gaining what they wanted from this ‘relationship’ (if you can even call it that) before leaving me with nothing but some wild/intense memories and a huge knock to my confidence.
Where I have given them every ounce of my soul and the deepest, most honest parts of my being - in return they have given me perhaps a half decent song on their guitar and if I’m lucky a Facebook message to let me know how they are getting on on their next adventure.
In my opinion, these men are so caught up in their own head, they are not truly (at this time anyway) able to give their hearts to anyone else. Look if you don’t take it from me, maybe you’ll take it from the legend that is Bob Dylan himself, who was at least honest in his warning when he said ‘It ain’t me babe, it ain’t me you're looking for”.