Saturday, November 21, 2009

Narcissists in Wonderland?

I was thinking earlier today about my NM and how many of us DONM's use the analogy of The Wizard of Oz when speaking about the whole dynamic of relating to an N. Then I started thinking about how topsy-turvy the world is when living under an N and realized it was quite like the world of Wonderland in which Alice found herself trapped.

In Wonderland, everything is sort of upside down and crazy-making. It goes against normal, healthy reality. Same goes for life under an NM. Having your NM say or do things to you only to turn around and deny it later. Never knowing what will send her into a rage - sometimes it's something legitimate like you were caught cheating on a test and, other times, it might be that you were complimented by a neighbor and your NM was jealous. Having your feelings and perceptions constantly invalidated. The whole experience can leave one not knowing which way is up or what to believe -- kind of like what I imagine Wonderland must have been like for Alice.

The upside for Alice is that she only had to spend a very short time in the chaos of Wonderland, whereas us DONM's can spend years, if not our entire lives living under the chaos of our NM's.

Another interesting correlation I found was between that of the Queen of Hearts and NM. I think many of us can relate to the Queen's screams of "OFF WITH HER HEAD!!" and the terror that Alice must surely have felt, fearing her very life was in danger. My NM may not have yelled to have my head cut off exactly, but there were certainly times I feared for my life or at least my well-being with her. And interesting how all those under the Queen of Heart's rule were frightened of her to the point that they went out of their way to ensure she was kept happy, lest they, too, incur her rage.

I can't help but wonder if the people who wrote stories like The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland had experience with narcissists in their lives. I certainly see enough correlations that it seems likely.


  1. So so so soooo true!!

    You have no idea how many times I have likened my childhood to Alice in Wonderland!

  2. I found this blog by searching "Alice in Wonderland" and Narcissism! I TOO have ALWAYS completely related to poor Alice, and I wondered if I was the only one who had made this connection (not surprisingly, I'm not!). :)

    I wanted to share some of my own thoughts on this - based mostly on the 1951 Disney cartoon movie which I am so familiar with:

    The 'king' is SMALL (physically but also in character), and appeases the LARGE and VIOLENT Red Queen / Queen of Hearts. My father is a weak and pathetic 'ruler' - my mother, the supremely angry, rules the roost. All tremble in fear of her wrath! (Note that the king carries out the "off with their heads!" sentence - true in my life as well!).

    The beautiful flowers, all female, all judgmental of Alice - they deem her a WEED and SHUN HER. Superficial and spiteful, and very, very threatened by poor innocent Alice!

    The way Alice is told there's "no room" at the tea party, and is told she's a very rude girl for taking one of the many empty seats without permission. As soon as she placates the Mad Hatter and the March Hare with a compliment, they gather around. Alice is repeatedly offered tea (drinks and nourishment), but it keeps getting taken from her. She is allowed to sit at the table, but not really allowed to partake. She is an intrusion.

    The whole rabbit hole symbolism - I typically hate it when people put sexual imagery in where it doesn't belong, but I think I'm right: it's like a birth canal, that rabbit hole. Alice gets BORN INTO a crazy reality! All she did was chase a rabbit....

    What the rabbit represents, I don't know. Life itself? Her true self? Her own spirit? I'm not sure, but I feel it's important! :) (Any takers on this one?!). It keeps cropping up and leading her along from one pathological situation to another.

    The caterpillar is obviously a transformative creature. It's arrogant, too. I don't fully get his role, but the 'metamorphosis' is an important image!

    The walrus - the poor innocent oysters being eaten by a smooth talker. A dire warning!

    Finally, the Cheshire Cat! For me, the Cheshire Cat is the Holy Spirit, inciting REBELLION in Alice! He forces her to act (she's scared to go up against the Queen!), and it all finally falls apart when Alice is forced to fight back. (The End!) How interesting that Alice might have stayed compliant the whole time, watching her steps, not trodding on the momraths, living in a crazy world until the smiling provocateur Cheshire Cat shows up and instigates a revolt! :)

    For me (because of my faith), I see this as God's intervention. But you could also see it in a more generic sense; your spirit/soul finally having ENOUGH of the nonsense and forcing you to rebel! For the sake of your own life/head!

    Thank you for your blog! :)

    Oh, one other thought - the doorknob saying "Feed your head" (this from the book). Maybe wisdom and knowledge is what'll finally get you seeing straight? ;)